Is the fight against corruption in France faltering?

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In the last week four cases of alleged corruption, fraud, abuse of position or negligence involving prominent figures in French society have ended with no one being punished. In two cases the defendants were acquitted, in another no sentence was passed, while in the investigation concerning former government minister and current head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, the prosecution said the case should be dropped. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan considers whether the French justice system is giving way when faced with certain high-profile political and financial cases – and if so, why.

The 1.6bn-euro ocean road making waves on Réunion

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Le tronçon "viaduc" de la future route du littoral, à 100 mètres du rivage réunionnais © Région Réunion Le tronçon "viaduc" de la future route du littoral, à 100 mètres du rivage réunionnais © Région Réunion

Plans to build a new road on viaducts and massive seawalls around the coast of the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion have caused a major controversy. The 1.6-billion-euro project faces a preliminary legal investigation for possible corruption and favouritism and is under fire for its impact on the environment, while financial watchdogs also warn the scheme risks facing a significant funding shortfall. Julien Sartre reports.

How Sarkozy helped key figure in election funding scandal flee Libya

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Nicolas Sarkozy, Bachir Saleh et Alexandre Djouhri © Reuters et DR Nicolas Sarkozy, Bachir Saleh et Alexandre Djouhri © Reuters et DR

Declassified reports from France's foreign intelligence service show how President Nicolas Sarkozy helped a senior figure in the Gaddafi regime escape from war-torn Libya in 2011, Mediapart can reveal. They show that Muammar Gaddafi's ex-chief of staff Bashir Saleh was taken to France in November 2011 with the aid of the French presidency and businessman Alexandre Djouhri. However, Saleh later fled France after Mediapart published details of a letter addressed to him outlining the Gaddafi regime's agreement to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

The political risks for Hollande as French mayors protest against cuts

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Mayors from across France have staged demonstrations against reduced funding from central government. However, the right-wing mayor who is behind the protests oversaw similar cuts in 2011 when he was budget minister. Meanwhile President Hollande, who is overseeing the current funding squeeze, opposed such moves when he was in opposition. But as Hubert Huertas argues, while there's more than a whiff of hypocrisy about the protests, they could nonetheless be damaging to the socialist government and the head of state himself.

Slovak president on migrants: 'We must show our solidarity'

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The Slovak government is officially opposed to the imposition of migrant quotas on European countries. However, in an interview with Mediapart the president of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, insists that his country must “abandon” its current stance. “We are capable of doing more for refugees,” he declared, ahead of a meeting of EU interior ministers on Tuesday to discuss how migrants are to be shared between members states. Mathieu Magnaudeix reports.

An illustrated record of the macabre world of 'le 36', the Paris police HQ

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 © Titwane © Titwane

Once the backdrop to novelist Georges Simenon’s commissaire Jules Maigret, and now that of the gritty French TV series Spiral, the building that stands at number 36 quai des Orfèvres in central Paris is the longstanding home to several of the capital’s elite police investigation squads. French documentary filmmaker and writer Raynal Pellicer was given exceptional access to the workings of one of the grittiest of these, the serious crime squad, and, with the illustrator Titwane, this month publishes an unusual and painstakingly detailed book of sketches and text on the day-to-day reality of the officers' often macabre jobs. Louise Fessard reports.

Jeremy Corbyn divides French Left

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The election this month of veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party has been greeted variously with both delight and despair among the French Left. While Socialist Party bigwigs look on aghast at the election of what a minister described to Mediapart as “an archaic dinosaur”, one of its minority leftist rebel MPs called the event “a breath of fresh air”. Lénaïg Bredoux has been seeking out the reactions.

French parliament debate on refugee crisis darkened by shadow of the far-right

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 © LCP © LCP

The French parliament on Wednesday held a debate on “the accommodation of refugees in France and Europe”, centred on the government’s pledge to receive an extra 24,000 refugees over the coming two years, on top of the existing numbers of asylum seekers. But, writes Mediapart political correspondent Lénaïg Bredoux, it was a missed opportunity for political courage, in which Prime Minister Manuel Valls tempered France’s announced welcome of refugees with the need to tighten border security, overshadowed by fears that the crisis is further fuelling support for the far-right Front National party.  

The myth of France as 'the land of asylum'

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While massive numbers of refugees continue to arrive in Europe, there is a perception among many in France that the country is something of a ‘promised land’ for asylum seekers, a dream destination about to be overwhelmed by the influx. But in reality, the self-proclaimed “land of human rights” figures way down the wish-list of those currently seeking to settle in Europe, even among francophone refugees. In this analysis of the crisis, which on Sunday saw Germany closing its southern borders, Mediapart's specialist writer on migratory issues, Carine Fouteau, examines why the majority of refugees are now spurning France.

The disturbing case of French journalists’ ‘blackmail’ of Moroccan king

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 © DR. © DR.

In a case as bizarre as it is unusual, two French journalists were last month arrested in a luxurious Paris hotel on suspicion of the attempted blackmail of Morocco's King Mohammed VI. Éric Laurent and Catherine Graciet are accused by the Moroccan authorities of demanding 3 million euros in exchange for not publishing their book of damaging revelations about the Rabat regime. Mediapart has obtained access to documents from the French judicial investigation which demonstrate that the case is far more complex than it first appeared. Sting or set-up? Michel Deléan reports.

How arms dealer who bought guns used in Paris terror attacks was never questioned

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Vidéo posthume d'Amedy Coulibaly revendiquant son attaque. © DR Vidéo posthume d'Amedy Coulibaly revendiquant son attaque. © DR

During the Paris terrorist attacks in January, four customers taken hostage in a kosher supermarket were shot dead, and four others seriously wounded, by a man claiming to have targeted the Jewish store in the name of Islamic State. The gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, was subsequently killed by police when they stormed the store. Mediapart can reveal that the automatic weapons found by his body were identified by Slovak police as having been bought late last year by a Lille-based dealer in decommissioned military arms, but who has astonishingly never been questioned about his eventual contact with Coulibaly. Karl Laske reports.