John Berger the writer who changed how we look at things: a view from Paris

By Antoine Perraud

The celebrated British art critic and writer John Berger has died in Paris at the age of 90. Mediapart's Antoine Perraud says that his work as a thinker and writer has helped change the way we look not just at art but the whole world around us. Here is his appreciation of Berger's life and work.

Inside the shadowy world of Edith Tudor-Hart, photographer and Soviet spy

By Dominique Conil
Autoportrait © Edith Tudor-Hart Autoportrait © Edith Tudor-Hart

A committed communist from a Jewish background, Edith Tudor-Hart was born and grew up in Vienna but fled to Britain after the fascists came to power in Austria in the 1930s. There she helped recruit the notorious Soviet spy Kim Philby and was an intermediary for another, the art historian Anthony Blunt. In a recent book translated into French, Tudor-Hart's great nephew Peter Stephan Jungk recounts the life story of his great aunt, who was a talented photographer. As Dominique Conil argues, one of the strengths of this moving portrait is that it avoids the Cold War spying clichés so beloved of many writers and directors. 

Football Leaks: what they revealed about 'the beautiful game'

By Michael Hajdenberg, Michel Henry, Yann Philippin
footballleaks-logo-trans

Throughout December, Mediapart and its 11 partners in the journalistic consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) have published a catalogue of revelations about the corrupt practices in football, including tax evasion and money-laundering on a vast scale, and involving some of the best-known players, managers and agents in the game. The disclosures came from documents supplied by the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks, and expose a startling state of affairs on and off the pitch. At the end of this long series of reports, which have now  prompted a judicial investigation in France, Michael Hajdenberg, Michel Henry, Yann Philippin summarise the principal findings of the EIC and review the surprisingly timid reactions of the regulating authorities of the world’s most popular sport.  

Pardon for battered wife highlights paradoxes of French system of government

By Hubert Huertas

President François Hollande has just granted a full pardon to Jacqueline Sauvage, a woman who killed her husband after he had continually beaten her and sexually abused their daughters. Hubert Huertas says the decision to act having hesitated for so long over the pardon sums up Hollande's presidency. He also argues that the case illustrates the limits of French democracy and highlights the issue of judicial scandals.

How financiers feed on Europe's cash-strapped football clubs

By Michael Hajdenberg, Michel Henry, Yann Philippin

Football has become a new playing field for financial institutions preying on debt, as illustrated by documents from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks and analysed by the European journalistic consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), in which Mediapart is a founding member. In one example, a British company called XXIII Capital had bought up 73 million dollars’ worth of debts resulting from transfers of players in England, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. These were then included in a financial product offered on Wall Street and subsequently on the stock exchange of the Caribbean tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Michael Hajdenberg, Michel Henry and Yann Philippin report.

The billionaire boss of Monaco and his TPO deals with Jorge Mendes

By Michel Henry, Agathe Duparc, Michaël Hajdenberg et Yann Philippin
Dmitry Rybolovlev, owner and chairman of French football club AS Monaco. © Reuters Dmitry Rybolovlev, owner and chairman of French football club AS Monaco. © Reuters

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, owner and chairman of French football club AS Monaco, held, via his own investment fund, economic rights in football players, some of whom played for Monaco, according to documents obtained from the whistle-blowing Football Leaks platform by the journalistic consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), in which Mediapart is a founding partner. The Third-Party Ownership investments, which raised clear issues of a potential conflict of interest, were mounted in association with football ‘super-agent’ Jorge Mendes, who himself made at least 6.85 million euros from the deals. Michel Henry, Agathe Duparc, Michaël Hajdenberg and Yann Philippin report.

The hidden activities of the clan behind Doyen Sports

By Yann Philippin
Tevfik Arif (r), with Kazakh-Israeli oligarch Alexander Mashkevitch (c) and Russian businessman Musa Bazhaev, in 2009. © EIC Tevfik Arif (r), with Kazakh-Israeli oligarch Alexander Mashkevitch (c) and Russian businessman Musa Bazhaev, in 2009. © EIC

One of the biggest investment funds in European football, Doyen Sports Investments, is controlled by a secretive Kazakh family who made their fortune in a chemicals plant and who hide their vast wealth in the British Virgin Islands. Tevfik Arif, who was for several years a business partner of US president-elect Donald Trump, is the ‘public face’ of the clan of four brothers who run the family’s business activities and who enjoy close links to several oligarchs from the former Soviet Union. In a series of further revelations from documents obtained from the Football Leaks platform by the journalistic consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), Yann Philippin lifts the lid on one of football’s best-kept secrets.

Trump's partnership with the Kazakh businessman he says he hardly knew

By martine orange and Yann Philippin
Donald Trump and Tefvik Arif in 2007. 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.  

French court finds IMF chief Lagarde guilty of negligence over massive payout to tycoon

By Michel Deléan
Christine Lagarde in court at the start of her trial on December 12th. © Reuters Christine Lagarde in court at the start of her trial on December 12th. © Reuters

Following a week-long trial, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has been found guilty of negligence when French economy and finance minister for allowing an award of more than 400 million euros from public funds to controversial tycoon Bernard Tapie. But the Court of Justice of the Republic, a special French court dedicated to judging the misdeeds of ministers, decided to exempt her from any sentence. The IMF announced late Monday that it had "full confidence" in Lagarde. Michel Deléan reports.

Fall of Aleppo reveals fault lines in French politics

The end of the battle for Syria's second city and the plight of its civilians have drawn different responses from across France's political spectrum. On the Right the line taken by conservative presidential candidate François Fillon has been close to that of the far-right Front National, with his defence of the Assad regime and Vladimir Putin. The ruling Socialist Party and the Greens have emphasised their support for Syria's opposition, while the radical left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has adopted an anti-imperialist stance, with the United States as his main target. Lénaïg Bredoux, Lucie Delaporte and Christophe Gueugneau report.

The secret practices of one of European football's biggest investment funds

By Yann Philippin, Michaël Hajdenberg et Michel Henry
Nelio Lucas on the roof of the London offices of Doyen Sports. © Challenges/REA Nelio Lucas on the roof of the London offices of Doyen Sports. © Challenges/REA

Doyen Sports Investment, one of the biggest investment funds in European football which operates out of offices in London, paid 10.8 million euros in secret commissions during the club transfers of numerous players, including French internatioanls Geoffrey Kondogbia and Eliaquim Mangala. Documents obtained by the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) journalistic collective, in which Mediapart is a partner, lift the lid on the startling methods employed by Doyen Sports and its director Nelio Lucas.

Lifting the lid on an unsavoury football transfer business

By Yann Philippin, Michaël Hajdenberg et Michel Henry

Documents obtained from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks and analysed by Mediapart and its partners in the journalistic collective European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), provide an astonishing insight into events surrounding the transfer of French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia from Sevilla to Monaco in 2013. The sometimes sordid saga surrounding Kondogbia’s transfer, in which the player had no part, involved secret commission payments and a plan to hold a sex party in Miami for the president of Real Madrid – who strenuously denies ever taking part in the event. Yann Philippin, Michaël Hajdenberg and Michel Henry report.

Arbitration award to French tycoon was 'scandalous', Lagarde trial told

By Michel Deléan

A former top French civil servant told the judges in the trial of IMF boss Christine Lagarde how he had tried to meet the then-economy minister to stop her from agreeing to an arbitration process that eventually cost French taxpayers 403 million euros. Ex-Treasury official Bruno Bézard said not only was holding the arbitration in the first place a blunder, it had been a mistake not to have appealed against its 2008 ruling in favour of tycoon Bernard Tapie. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan says it was a tough day in court for Lagarde, who denies negligence in signing off on the arbitration process while a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's government.

The convicted and banned football agent who continues his dealings in secret

By Michaël Hajdenberg, Michel Henry, Yann Philippin
Luciano D'Onofrio when he was vice-president of Belgian club Standard de Liège. © Le Soir Luciano D'Onofrio when he was vice-president of Belgian club Standard de Liège. © Le Soir

Luciano D’Onofrio was once an agent for star football players who included Zinedine Zidane (now manager of club Real Madrid) and Didier Deschamps (now manager of the France national team). But D’Onofrio was later convicted for his part in a series of football corruption scandals, and eventually barred from exercising as an agent. However, documents obtained from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks, and accessed by Mediapart and its partners in the journalistic collective European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), demonstrate that he has continued his business in secret, investing in under-age footballers, buying stakes in players, and placing some of the footballers in a club in Saudi Arabia. Michaël Hajdenberg, Michel Henry, and Yann Philippin report.

'I was not negligent' claims IMF's Lagarde as trial opens

By Michel Deléan

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has appeared before a special court in Paris charged with negligence over her handling of a controversial arbitration process that paid out millions of euros of French taxpayers' money. Addressing a court reserved for government ministers, the former French economy minister denied wrongdoing but suggested she herself may have been “exploited” by others in relation to the 403 million euro award made to French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports.