An investigation by a ministerial department found that some of the private security services provided for Emmanuel Macron's 2017 presidential campaign were “in all probability carried out in illegal circumstances”. The probe unearthed claims of cash payments and of unlicensed security staff working at political rallies. Yet the final report, written by a department in the Ministry of the Interior, was buried in 2020 by a senior civil servant who decided no further action should be taken – against the advice of three of his senior staff. Mediapart can reveal the documentary evidence of how these potentially embarrassing allegations were shelved. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.