How Neymar transfer became a financial abyss for PSG

By and
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known as Neymar Junior. © Reuters Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known as Neymar Junior. © Reuters

Documents from Football Leaks lift the lid on the real cost and the dealings behind the record-breaking transfer in the summer of 2017 of Brazilian football star Neymar from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Revealed here by Mediapart, they tell of massive commission payments, up-to-the-wire negotiations that almost collapsed amid a tetchy moment of bluff, tax dilemmas and the club’s suspicions that some of those accompanying the player to Paris were in undeclared employment. Meanwhile, despite the capture of one of the world’s most celebrated players, the transfer appears to represent a financial abyss for PSG.

When French club PSG recruited youth players according to ethnic origin

By
Former PSG sporting director Olivier Létang (right) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi. © Reuters Former PSG sporting director Olivier Létang (right) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi. © Reuters

Talent scouts for French club PSG were required to detail the ethnic origins of potential youth recruits as an essential criterium in the club’s selection of players in a blatant discrimination policy that lasted over several years until this spring, Mediapart can reveal. As a result, a youngster now considered to be one of France’s most promising players was disregarded by PSG on the grounds of his black skin.   

When AS Monaco faced a 'neutron bomb' of fraud allegations

By and
Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, president and majority shareholder of AS Monaco. © Reuters Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, president and majority shareholder of AS Monaco. © Reuters

In December 2011, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, with an estimated wealth of about 6.8 billion dollars from his interests in potassium fertiliser production, bought a two-thirds share in AS Monaco, the football club based in the tiny French-controlled Riviera principality of Monte Carlo, where he resides. Mediapart can reveal that his grand ambitions for the club, which plays in France’s top-flight division, Ligue 1, saw him attempt to hide his massive and illegal funding of the team behind a supposed marketing contract involving an offshore structure of companies in the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. But his chosen partner in the scheme finally pulled out, threatening a “neutron bomb” of revelations, while the governing body of European association football, UEFA, was to turn a blind eye to the deal.     

Fears over France's backwards steps on climate and energy

By
Paris, March 18th, 2015. © Reuters Paris, March 18th, 2015. © Reuters

The French government is shortly due due to announce its plans on energy use and carbon dioxide emission reductions to be implemented up to 2028. Environmental groups are worried the country is set to reduce its ambition on emissions targets and on the decommissioning of its nuclear power stations. Figures meanwhile show that Paris is not currently meeting its existing carbon emission commitments, a revelation that comes just weeks before the next climate change summit, COP24, takes place in Poland. Christophe Gueugneau reports.

UEFA bosses helped cover up PSG 'financial fair play’ fraud

By and
PSG general manager Jean-Claude Blanc (left) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. © Reuters PSG general manager Jean-Claude Blanc (left) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. © Reuters

Over several years, Qatar injected 1.8 billion euros into French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in a massive breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations of European association football’s governing body UEFA. Mediapart reveals here the background to the affair and how the then president of UEFA, Michel Platini, and his secretary general, Gianni Infantino, who is now president of FIFA, helped cover up the fraud, allowing the club to escape exclusion from the prestigious and lucrative Champions League.

What it's like being a socialist in the United States

By
One of the rising stars in American socialism, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. © Reuters One of the rising stars in American socialism, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. © Reuters

The very word has been anathema in America for so long. Yet in the wake of Bernie Sanders' strong showing in the Democratic Party primaries ahead of the last presidential election, more and more Americans are calling themselves “socialists”. Some are even winning elections. Mediapart's New York correspondent Mathieu Magnaudeix gives a pen portrait of some of these new candidates on the American Left who are fighting against capitalism as much as they are combating discrimination.

French government raises stakes on school security after pupil points 'gun' at teacher

By and
Interior minister Christophe Castaner, left, education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and justice minister Nicole Belloubet. © @Twitter @jmblanquer Interior minister Christophe Castaner, left, education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and justice minister Nicole Belloubet. © @Twitter @jmblanquer

A recent video showing a pupil pointing a pistol – later discovered to be fake - at his teacher in a school in France went viral. The government called an urgent meeting of senior ministers to work out a plan of action to tackle violence in France's schools, amid talk that the police might be asked to patrol in some establishments. Detailed policies are expected to be announced soon. But as Manuel Jardinaud and Faïza Zerouala report, this tough rhetoric, which recalls the days of Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency, has not gone down well with many teachers.

Macron's ruling LREM party faces criticism as it embraces era of 'kit form politics'

By
The La République en Marche party conference was held in Paris on October 21st, 2018. © MJ The La République en Marche party conference was held in Paris on October 21st, 2018. © MJ

The governing party set up by President Emmanuel Macron, La République en Marche (LREM), is seeking to mobilise and enthuse its activists as important elections approach. As part of that process it has developed a range of tools and documents inspired by business and management culture in which everyone is called upon to run grassroots initiatives. But as Manuel Jardinaud reports, these 'kit form' methods are not to everyone's tastes.

The French Army and genocide in Rwanda: a damning video

By
On the right, Colonel Jacques Rosier, head of French special forces in Rwanda. © DR On the right, Colonel Jacques Rosier, head of French special forces in Rwanda. © DR

Mediapart has published a video filmed in the summer of 1994 by French soldiers in Rwanda. It exposes the passivity of the army during one of the most embarrassing episodes for France during the genocide in that country: the massacre at Bisesero. The revelation comes as French judges complete their long investigation into the claims that the French military was "complicit" in genocide and crimes against humanity. Meanwhile human rights groups say they fear that the victims of the atrocities will be denied justice.  Fabrice Arfi reports.

Preaching to the converted: President Macron's citizen consultations on the EU

By and
Emmanuel Macron at the launch of the citizens consultation process at Épinal in north-eastern  France on April 17th, 2018. © Élysée Emmanuel Macron at the launch of the citizens consultation process at Épinal in north-eastern France on April 17th, 2018. © Élysée

The aim was to allow people to come up with a concept of the “Europe of tomorrow”. Hundreds of public citizen consultations have already been held across France and more will continue into the autumn in a bid to help bring the French people closer to the European Union. Mediapart has visited three such meetings held in northern France, in Dieppe, Issy-les-Moulineaux and one of the seats of the European Parliament, Strasbourg. The Élysée promised they would be no holds barred meetings. But in reality the gatherings have largely attracted people who are already pro-European or who are members of President Emmanuel Macron's ruling party La République en Marche. Justine Brabant and Ludovic Lamant report.

Corruption in Brazil: suspicions over meeting between Sarkozy and Lula

By
President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on September 7th, 2009,during Brazil's annual celebration of independence day. © Reuters President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on September 7th, 2009,during Brazil's annual celebration of independence day. © Reuters

A former Brazilian finance minister, Antonio Palocci, claims that the issue of hidden payments was discussed during a meeting held between the French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the evening of September 6th, 2009. An investigation into the sale of French Scorpène submarines to Brazil and the construction of a naval base at Itaguaí in the South American country has revealed the existence of up to 70 million euros in commissions paid by the Brazilian partner company of the French naval defence firm Naval Group. Karl Laske investigates.

New questions emerge in fraud probe into France’s firebrand radical-left leader

Police last week searched the home of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of Frances radical-left La France Insoumise party, and also the homes of several of his close entourage, as part of an investigation into suspected financial fraud during Mélenchon’s 2017 presidential election campaign. Mélenchon’s furious reaction to the raids, which included his party’s headquarters, have erupted into a public slanging match with the prosecution services and also the media, who he has denounced as serving a political plot against him. Fabrice Arfi, Michel Deléan and Antton Rouget report on the searches last week, when 12,000 euros in cash was discovered at the home of a former close aide of Mélenchon’s.

When Vichy regime leader Pétain was to be honoured on Armistice Day

By
Emannuel Macron with General François Lecointre, chief of staff of France's armed forces, July 20th 2017. © Reuters Emannuel Macron with General François Lecointre, chief of staff of France's armed forces, July 20th 2017. © Reuters

Among the several ceremonies marking the centenary of the WW1 Armistice signed on November 11th 1918, France’s joint military chiefs of staff had planned a tribute, to be attended by President Emmanuel Macron, to the eight Marshals who fought in the Great War. The eight included Philippe Pétain, who led France’s collaborationist Vichy regime during German occupation of the country from 1940 to 1944. Macron’s office has made clear that the president will not attend any celebration of the disgraced figure, and said it is bewildered how such a ceremony "ended up" in the official presentation of Armistice centenary events without having been submitted for approval. Ellen Salvi reports.

Gaddafi son tells French probe how dictator 'funded Sarkozy campaign'

By and
Saïf al-Islam Gaddafi appearing before a court in Zintan, Libya, on May 15th 2014. © Reuters Saïf al-Islam Gaddafi appearing before a court in Zintan, Libya, on May 15th 2014. © Reuters

In August this year, Saïf al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, sent a lengthy written statement to French magistrates investigating evidence that France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy secretly received millions of euros from the dictator’s regime to finance his 2007 election campaign. Mediapart has gained access to the statement in full, and reveals here the most notable extracts, in which he corroborates the accounts of the illegal funding, details how it was organised, and relates how Sarkozy and his close entourage sought, as a return favour, to overturn a life sentence handed by a Paris court to Gaddafi’s intelligence chief in absentia for his role in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner which killed 170 passengers and crew. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.

How strongman Erdogan has built a 'New Turkey' in his grip

By
Strongman: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. © Reuters Strongman: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. © Reuters

Since the re-election in June of Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan, the country has adopted a constitutional system that hands new and vast executive and legislative powers to the authoritarian head of state. Mediapart’s correspondent in Istanbul Nicolas Cheviron reports on the essential changes that spearhead the construction of Erdogan’s ‘New Turkey’.