Keyword: Alexandre Benalla

The abject intimidation of French investigative journalists

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Chief Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz. © Reuters Chief Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz. © Reuters

A senior reporter from French daily Le Monde has been summoned for questioning later this month by the French domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, over her investigations into the relationships of President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former aide, Alexandre Benalla. The move follows a recent attempt by the Paris public prosecution services to carry out a search of the offices of Mediapart, also following its reports into Benalla’s covert activities, and separate summonses for questioning this month by the DGSI of journalists who revealed the French government’s false claims denying the offensive use of French-made weapons in the war in Yemen. Fabrice Arfi, of Mediapart’s investigative reports team, details the new offensive against journalists who champion the public’s right to know, and the person leading the campaign against them, namely chief Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz.  

French spy agency summons reporter over Benalla revelations

The French domestic intelligence service, the DGSI, has summoned for questioning Ariane Chemin, a senior reporter with French daily Le Monde, over her investigations into the relationships of President Emmanuel Macron's security aide Alexandre Benalla, bringing to five the number of journalists the spy agency has recently summoned following reports embarassing the government.

Moscow man: the key role of a French intermediary in Benalla security aide affair

Jean-Louis Haguenauer, left, and Alexandre Benalla at a château in the Dordogne in August 2018. © Document Mediapart Jean-Louis Haguenauer, left, and Alexandre Benalla at a château in the Dordogne in August 2018. © Document Mediapart

In the unfolding saga of the Benalla affair, which involves President Emmanuel Macron's sacked security aide Alexandre Benalla, one man played a key role in the shadows. He is French middleman Jean-Louis Haguenauer, the man behind the Russia security contract negotiated by Benalla while the latter was still working as a key aide at the Élysée. Mediapart can reveal how over a period of 30 years Haguenauer cultivated a network of contacts in Russia, including close links with the Russian secret services. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

French Senate advises prosecution probe into Macron aides

In one of the sharpest confrontations in years between France’s powerful executive and its parliament, the Senate announced on Thursday it had referred Macron’s top aide Alexis Kohler, his chief of staff Patrick Strzoda and Lionel Lavergne, the Elysée’s top security official, to prosecutors for withholding information from an investigation into Macron’s former bodyguard Alexandre Benalla.

Macron security aide scandal: the forged documents and true lies

Alexandre Benalla (left) testifying before a French senate commission. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla (left) testifying before a French senate commission. © Reuters

The long-running and still unfolding saga of the scandal surrounding Emmanuel Macron’s former close security aide Alexandre Benalla has prompted serious questions over the French president’s judgement about, and relationship with, his bodyguard, and also the secretive workings of the Élysée Palace and its senior staff. Those questions are heightened with documents revealed here by Mediapart, and the account of a former minister and his senior aide – who commented that Macron's entourage "didn’t protect him sufficiently” from a young man whose rise to prominence in the presidential office almost beggars belief.

Macron security aide affair: Mediapart responds to its critics

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Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters

Mediapart is not a back-room intelligence agency but a news-gathering organization. We do not spy on anyone nor do we install secret microphones, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel. We are content with revealing information in the public interest while respecting press laws. That is true in the current affair involving President Emmanuel Macron's security aide Alexandre Benalla just as it was in the earlier Bettencourt, Sarkozy-Gaddafi and Cahuzac affairs, he says.

French Senate report into disgraced Macron aide opens rift with government

Alexandre Benalla (left) appearing before the French Senate's commission of inquiry, September 19th 2018. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla (left) appearing before the French Senate's commission of inquiry, September 19th 2018. © Reuters

A damming report published this week by a French Senate commission of inquiry set up to investigate the scandal surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former security aide Alexander Benalla was dismissed on Thursday by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe as being politically motivated. The senators found that the events behind the scandal, which began when Benalla was filmed assaulting people on the sidelines of a May Day march last year, and which have been followed by Mediapart’s revelations that the maverick aide has been negotiating personal security deals worth 2.2 million euros with Russian oligarch’s close to the Kremlin, are the result of “major failings” at the heart of the Élysée Palace, which placed at risk “the security of the head of state and, beyond this, the interests of our country”.

French Senate releases scathing report on Macron aide scandal

A report by a French Senate commission of inquiry into the implications, and possible cover-up on high, of the unfolding scandal surrounding President Macron's former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, has ofund top Elysée officials may have withheld information from the commission, that Benalla lied to it and that Macron's security and 'the nation's interests' were compromised by Benalla's business dealings with Russian oligarchs.

New revelations on Macron aide's oligarch deals worth 2.2m euros

Left to right: Alexandre Benalla, Iskander Makhmudov, and Farkhad Akhmedov. © DR Left to right: Alexandre Benalla, Iskander Makhmudov, and Farkhad Akhmedov. © DR

Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, who also served as deputy to the president’s inner cabinet chief, organised from the Élysée Palace a private deal to provide protection services to a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin and who is suspected of ties to Russian organised crime. Benalla, who was initially dismissed from his post after assaulting people on the sidelines of a May Day march, last December also sold protection services to another Russian billionaire. The total of the two deals is worth 2.2 million euros, part of which was paid to Benalla in Morocco, Mediapart can reveal in this latest investigation into the growing scandal which, it is speculated, may be linked to the resignation announced this week of Macron’s most senior advisor, Ismaël Emelien.

Probe launched into Russian oligarch contract linked to Élysée security aide

Alexandre Benalla and, just behind him, Vincent Crase in Paris on May 1st 2018 . © Reuters Alexandre Benalla and, just behind him, Vincent Crase in Paris on May 1st 2018 . © Reuters

France's national fraud prosecution unit has opened an investigation for “corruption” over a French firm's security contract signed with Russian oligarch Iskander Makhmudov, and negotiated by Alexandre Benalla while the latter was a security aide at the Élysée. Mediapart first revealed details of this contract, which involves a company run by Benalla's friend Vincent Crase, back in December. In a separate development the French prime minister's head of security has resigned after claims that her flat was used to host a bail-breaching meeting between Benalla and Crase that was secretly recorded in July 2018. She denies any wrong doing. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

How French PM's office sparked probe into Mediapart's sources in security aide affair

President Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Édouard Philippe in Paris in March 2018. © Reuters President Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Édouard Philippe in Paris in March 2018. © Reuters

It was an intervention from the office of France's prime minister Édouard Philippe which caused the opening of an investigation into the source of secret recordings involving a former presidential aide, Mediapart can reveal. This investigation then led to an attempt by prosecutors to search Mediapart's office – which Mediapart prevented, citing laws designed to protect its sources. The prosecution authorities, meanwhile, are remaining silent about the information they received which caused them to start the probe. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget, Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.

Mediapart blocks prosecutors' bid to search offices over Macron security aide affair

Emmanuel Macron and Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron and Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters

Mediapart refused a highly unusual attempt by prosecutors in Paris on Monday morning to search its editorial offices as part of an  investigation that notably cites a breach of the personal privacy of Alexandre Benalla, the disgraced controversial former security aide to President Emmanuel Macron. He was sacked and placed under formal investigation last summer after video footage emerged of him and ruling LREM party security manager Vincent Crase using violence on protestors during demonstrations in Paris on May 1st. The new prosecution services’ probe follows Mediapart's revelations last week of extracts from a compromising conversation between Benalla and Crase, who met in violation of their conditional bail, which raise wider questions over Benalla’s actions while employed by the presidency, and also his relationship with the president. Mediapart exercised its legal right to refuse the raid on the grounds of protecting the identity of its sources.

Macron security aide affair: the secret recordings that change everything

Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters

An investigation by Mediapart sheds dramatic new light on the affair involving Alexandre Benalla, who was a security aide to President Emmanuel Macron until he was sacked when video footage emerged showing that he had used violence against protestors at a demonstration. In particular recordings of Benalla talking to the former head of security for the ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, who also lost his job over the scandal, reveal details about a secret meeting that breached a judicial control order, about a security contract with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and Benalla's ongoing communications with President Macron. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

Former Macron aide Benalla taken into custody

Alexandre Benalla, the disgraced former security aide to President Emmanuel Macron who last year was placed under investigation for assault and impersonating a police officer after video emerged of him beating people on the sidelines of May Day marches in Paris, was taken into police custody on Thursday for questioning over his alleged illegal obtention and use of diplomatic passports since leaving the Élysée Palace last August.

Macron weakened by departures from entourage

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From left to right, part of President Macron's inner circle Stéphane Séjourné, Sylvain Fort, Julien Denormandie, Benjamin Griveaux, Richard Ferrand. In the middle is Sibeth Ndiaye. At the Élysée May 14th 2017. © Reuters From left to right, part of President Macron's inner circle Stéphane Séjourné, Sylvain Fort, Julien Denormandie, Benjamin Griveaux, Richard Ferrand. In the middle is Sibeth Ndiaye. At the Élysée May 14th 2017. © Reuters

The head of communications at the Élysée has just announced that he is to leave his post by the end of January. Sylvain Fort, who is close to Emmanuel Macron having worked alongside him for more than two years, proclaimed his “total loyalty” to the French president. But this and reports of other possible departures from the president's inner circle have further weakened a presidency which is embroiled in the affair involving former security aide Alexandre Benalla and the ongoing social movement carried out by the so-called from the yellow vest protestors. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.