Ancienne journaliste à l'Usine Nouvelle, au Monde, et à la Tribune. Plusieurs livres: Vivendi: une affaire française; Ces messieurs de chez Lazard, Rothschild, une banque au pouvoir. Participation aux ouvrages collectifs : l'histoire secrète de la V République, l'histoire secrète du patronat , Les jours heureux, informer n'est pas un délit.View his profile in the club
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François Fillon (left) and his friend Henri de Castries, former CEO of AXA. © DR
On February 6th the beleaguered right-wing presidential candidate was forced to admit that the major insurance firm AXA was a client of his consultancy firm 2F Conseil. Between 2012 and 2014 the group paid 200,000 euros to Fillon, who was a Member of Parliament at the time. The money was apparently paid to the former prime minister because he could “open doors in Brussels and Berlin” as new European Union insurance regulations were being implemented. Mediapart's Martine Orange argues that the affair is a clear example of conflict of interest.
The Paris public prosecutor’s office has recommended that three complaints for forgery and use of falsified documents, for obtaining a ruling under false pretences and for subornation of a witness lodged by former trader Jérôme Kerviel against the Société Générale bank be dismissed. Kerviel, whose high-risk trading was revealed in January 2008 to have cost the bank almost 5 billion euros, has fought a long-running legal battle for the recognition of the responsibility of the Société Générale in his reckless trades, already partly established in court. A senior police officer who twice led investigations into the case and who denounced the bank’s manipulation of investigators, Commander Nathalie Le Roy, has told Mediapart that the decision to throw out Kerviel’s remaining legal action comes as no surprise. Ostracised by her hierarchy, she tells Mediapart that she has no regrets for blowing the whistle on what increasingly appears to be a cover up. Martine Orange reports.
Donald Trump and Tefvik Arif in 2007.
Tevfik Arif is one of the key figures to feature in a series of revelations stemming from documents from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks and obtained by the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) journalistic collective, in which Mediapart is a partner. The Kazakh-Turkish businessman is one of four brothers behind the secretive Doyen Group, and built a property development company in the US largely thanks to his controversial partnership with president-elect Donald Trump, including the construction of the Trump SoHo building in New York. Martine Orange and Yann Philippin report on an association which Trump now claims he has difficulty in remembering.
François Fillon is favourite to be the Right's presidential candidate. © Reuters
The frontrunner in the primary election to become the presidential candidate for the French Right and centre is a known admirer of Britain's late prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who was dubbed the “Iron Lady”. His economic plans include a strategic and immediate “shock” to the French system; the end of the 35-hour working week, abolition of the wealth tax, increasing the retirement age to 65 and reforming unemployment benefit and workplace rights. As Martine Orange reports ahead of Sunday's crucial second round contest, François Fillon plans to introduce these sweeping changes within the first two months if he becomes president – despite the risk that they would provoke a recession.
'Non': Walloon leader Paul Magnette rejects the CETA deal in its current form. © Reuters
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA trade deal between the European Union and Canada was in deep trouble after the Belgian region of Wallonia refused to accept it, despite strong efforts behind the scenes by neighbouring France to put pressure on the French-speaking area. Finally a last-minute deal was reached on Thursday October 27th, but came too late to allow Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau to fly to Brussels to sign the deal at a summit that has now been postponed. Martine Orange looks at how a small Belgian region became a focal point of opposition to a trade deal many fear will act as a Trojan horse for North American multinationals.
A 'rogue' trader no more: Jérôme Kerviel. © Reuters
In a ruling by the Versailles court of appeal on Friday, French bank Société Générale was found to have been in large part responsible for the 4.9 billion euros in losses attributed to the reckless trades of its so-called “rogue trader” Jérôme Kerviel in 2008. The court ruling concerned Kerviel’s appeal against the damages he was required to pay the bank, which until now was fixed as the entire sum of the losses, and which it reduced to 1 million euros. Mediapart economics and finance correspondent Martine Orange analyses here the many consequences of the ruling, not least of which is the demand that the bank now pay back a 2.2-billion-euro tax break it was granted as a result of the sums lost.
The unemployment rate in France dropped below 10% during the second quarter of this year, and for the first time since 2012, according to figures released on Thursday by the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). The news appears to pave the way for President François Hollande to announce his re-election bid in next year’s presidential elections but, as Martine Orange reports in this analysis of the figures, the slight fall in official jobless numbers cannot mask the grim reality of France’s endemic unemployment.
Patrick Drahi. © Reuters
French telecoms operator SFR, which was acquired by the holding company of Swiss-based businessman Patrick Drahi in 2014, is losing subscribers to its mobile- and internet-based services by the hundreds of thousands. The haemorrhage threatens the future of the group, already struggling with heavy debts amid one of the toughest telecoms markets in Europe. Martine Orange analyses the cost-cutting, service-reducing strategy employed by Drahi, a champion of the technique of leveraged buyouts.
Part of a key report on the Kerviel affair that was ignored then shredded.
Was Société Générale's determination to hold on to a 2.2-billion-euro tax rebate partly behind the French bank's motivation to pursue its “rogue trader” Jérôme Kerviel with such zeal? That is a question raised by a report written for French prosecutors in May 2008 and now seen by Mediapart and other French media as part of a joint investigation. As Martine Orange reports, it appears this important report was first ignored by the judicial authorities and then shredded.