The disturbing secrets of the 'Dassault system'

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French senator and billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault is at the centre of a judicial investigation into suspected electoral fraud in which cash payments were made to voters to buy his election as mayor of a suburban town south of Paris, and also that of his designated successor. In 2013, Mediapart published a secretly-taped video in which the conservative politician and businessman, owner of daily Le Figaro and who has been stripped of his parliamentary immunity, admitted to handing out cash to voters in Corbeil-Essonnes. Now a new book by two French journalists, entitled Dassault Système, details the history of the scandal, and in the extracts published here by Mediapart, reveals how police reports providing evidence of the scam were intriguingly shelved.

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In February 2014, French senator and billionaire Serge Dassault, one of France’s most powerful and influential political and industrial figures, was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in response to an investigation into an alleged votes-for-cash scam in a town close to Paris where he had been mayor for 14 years.