François Hollande, his partner’s film, and the French fighter jet sale to India

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The sale to India by France of 36 Dassault Rafale jet fighters, signed during the presidency of François Hollande, is at the centre of a growing scandal in India where opposition parliamentarians have demanded a detailed investigation of the deal, alleging favouritism, mismanagement of public funds, and the endangering of national security. They are notably suspicious of the circumstances by which India’s Reliance Group was assigned as Dassault’s partner in the building of the jets. As Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report here, at the very time the deal was struck, Reliance provided funding for a film produced by Hollande’s personal partner, the actress Julie Gayet.

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“One day, the Indians came and the film could be made,” recalled one of the production team of the film Tout là-haut, co-produced in 2016 by the actress Julie Gayet, the partner of then French president François Hollande. Tout là-haut (English title, 'To the top'), tells the story of French snowboarder Marco Siffredi, played in the film by Kev Adams, who died while descending the slopes of Mount Everest. The film’s budget was 10 million euros, and the Indian funding – initially to be 3 million euros but later reduced to 1.6 million euros – was a lifeline.