Brice Horetefeux

Key Sarkozy allies admit their errors over secret meetings with Libyan terror chief

France — Investigation

Two of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's closest allies, Brice Hortefeux and Claude Guéant, have recently been placed under formal investigation for “criminal conspiracy” over claims that the ex-head of state's 2007 election was part-funded by the Libyan regime. Mediapart can now reveal that during questioning by judges both men admitted to lapses in judgement in meeting a spy chief from Muammar Gaddafi's regime who was wanted by the French justice system after being convicted of a terrorist attack. Yet they deny there was any deal for the Libyans to help fund the election campaign. Both men also loyally continue to protect their former boss, who himself faces claims of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the case. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Senior Sarkozy aide pointed by scam probe evidence leaks

France — Investigation

Mediapart has obtained new information that further suggests a key suspect in an investigation into the illegal political funding scandal, known as the Karachi Affair, was given confidential details of evidence from the enquiry by one of President Nicolas Sarkozy's closest aides, former interior minister Brice Hortefeux (pictured). The fresh twist in the affair counters earlier statements by Hortefeux denying that he had had illegal access to the investigating file and had passed on secret details of a witness statement to Thierry Gaubert, a former advisor to Sarkozy now placed under formal investigation for suspected embezzlement. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

The arms dealer, the French presidency and the dirty truth

France — Opinion

In July, Mediapart began the publication of a series of investigative articles about the very close and longstanding links between Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale, and Mediapart's revelations raise disturbing questions about other deals he was involved in. In a brief interview with Mediapart in July, Takieddine declared: "I'm a clean man and you're dirty. You're one of the filthy who are most productive in the muck." Here, Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel sets out the key issues exposed by the investigations, and argues why an unprecedented chain of corruption is strangling France's institutions.