France's financial prosecution unit the Parquet National Financier (PNF) has broadened the scope of its investigation into claims that Ziad Takieddine, a key witness over allegations that Libya helped fund Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, was induced to change his evidence. Well-connected Paris paparazzi boss Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand is one of those under investigation over the allegations. Prosecutors now also want to look at suspicions of an extraordinary plan to bribe judges in order to free one of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's sons from prison in Lebanon. The idea was that, in exchange, a grateful Hannibal Gaddafi would then speak out and clear the former president's name over the 2007 election funding allegations. As Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report, the affair could potentially now become an international scandal.
In November 2020 Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the judicial investigation into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign, retracted his evidence. The apparent volte-face by a man who had previously said Nicolas Sarkozy had been corrupted by Libyan money in the affair was seized on by the former president's supporters as a turning point in the lengthy judicial saga. But Takieddine's retraction was not a genuine one. New legal documents seen by Mediapart – who originally broke the story of the alleged funding scandal - show the scale of the media manipulation used to help Nicolas Sarkozy. The former president's role in this is now at the heart of this part of the investigation. So, too, is the role played by the so-called 'queen of the paparazzi' Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand who is currently in custody in connection with the case. She has told detectives that her role in the affair was to: “Kill Mediapart”. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.
On August 4th this year, a huge explosion ripped through the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut and the surrounding city neighbourhoods, killing more than 200 people, wounding more than 6,500 others and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. It was so powerful that the shockwaves and tremors it caused were recorded hundreds of kilometres away. Now, London-based independent research group Forensic Architecture has produced a remarkable video report with 3D imaging, using documented evidence and expert input, to piece together a precise chronology of the multiple causes of the explosion, and which Mediapart presents here.
Intent on playing a high-profile role in helping Lebanon out of economic and political collapse, french President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Beirut on Monday, his second trip since the devastating chemicals blast in the capital on August 4th and just hours after Lebanese diplomat Mustapha Adib was named as the Middle East country's new prime minister.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited blast-torn Beirut on Thursday, the first foreign leader to do so, when he announced that France will organize an international fundraising conference with other international donors to provide food, medicine, housing and other urgent aid, but warned that 'if reforms are not made, Lebanon will continue to sink'.
French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Lebanon on Thursday to meet with the country's political leaders, 48 hours after a huge explosion devastated parts of Beirut where France has already sent teams of rescuse workers, engineers and medical equipment.