Corruption

EU parliament scandal: Morocco spared by MEPs but probe closes in

Europe

Revelations in the so-called “Qatargate” corruption scandal engulfing the European Parliament this month, involving past and present members of the chamber, including its former vice-president, are snowballing. While the Belgian authorities continue investigations into those implicated in an alleged Qatari slush-fund used to buy favours from EU lawmakers, MEPs have suspended all legislative work in connection with Qatar, and withdrawn access to the institution by the Gulf State’s representatives. But they shied from including Morocco in the sanctions, despite growing evidence of its involvement in the influence peddling. Mediapart's European affairs correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.  

World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte found guilty of corruption

France — Link

Bernard Laporte, World Rugby vice-chairman and president of the French rugby federation, has been found guilty on corruption charges by a French court, including of influence peddling and illegally acquiring assets, and was on Tuesday handed a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined 75,000 euros.

Why convicted French politicians nearly always escape going to jail

Corruption — Analysis

On Monday December 5th former French president Nicolas Sarkozy began an appeal hearing following his conviction for corruption in the so-called 'Paul Bismuth' or phone-tapping case. At the original trial the ex-head of state was given a jail sentence but has not served a single night in prison. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan explains why it is that French politicians who are convicted in corruption cases so very rarely serve jail time despite the heavy prison sentences that such offences can attract.

Qatar suspected of targeting Mediapart in global hacking operation

Corruption

A joint investigation by The Sunday Times and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported that a group of Indian hackers were hired to spy on journalists and other individuals “who threatened to expose wrongdoing” over the awarding to Qatar of this year’s football World Cup. Among the “dozen” people reported to have been targeted are former UEFA president Michel Platini, French senator Nathalie Goulet, and Mediapart journalist Yann Philippin. Qatar denies any involvement in the hacking operation. Fabrice Arfi and Michaël Hajdenberg report.

Ex-Sarkozy justice minister stands trial for embezzling public funds

France — Link

Michel Mercier, 75, who served as minister for rural affairs and regional planning from 2009 to 2010 and as justice minister from 2010 to 2012, is accused of employing his wife and daughter and a phantom part-time parliamentary assistant for fake jobs paid out of parliamentary funds.

When Macron sent a twice-convicted man to represent France at Abe’s funeral

Justice — Analysis

At the request of Emmanuel Macron, Nicolas Sarkozy travelled to Tokyo to represent France at the state funeral on Tuesday of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. That was despite the fact that the former French president has two convictions, and notably one for corruption, and that he is currently placed under investigation for “criminal conspiracy”, “corruption”, “illicit campaign financing” and “receiving the proceeds of the misappropriation of public funds” in relation to the alleged Libyan funding of his 2007 election campaign. Fabrice Arfi and Ilyes Ramdani report.

'Rafale Papers': French judges face military secrecy hurdles over probe into sale of fighters

International — Investigation

French judges are leading an investigation into claims of corruption surrounding the 7.8-billion-euro sale to India in 2016 of 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter aircraft. But four months after searching the headquarters of the French defence and aviation group, investigators were refused access by France's Ministry of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to classified documents concerning the contract negotiations. Yann Philippin reports.

Why the lights have gone out over Lebanon

International — Report

August 4th marks the anniversary of the devastating explosion last year in the port of Beirut of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate unsafely stored in a warehouse, causing the deaths of more than 200 people and injuring more than 6,500 others. The blast accentuated an already severe economic and financial crisis in Lebanon, and has left it politically rudderless ever since. Amid high unemployment, soaring poverty and shortages of basic commodities, the population is now also struggling from constant power cuts, the result of withering institutional corruption which has all but paralysed its electricity network. Nada Maucourant Atallah reports from Beirut.

'Rafale Papers': France opens judicial probe into fighter deal with India, new revelations emerge

International — Investigation

A judicial probe into suspected corruption has been opened in France over the 7.8-billion-euro sale to India in 2016 of 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter aircraft. In this latest of a series of investigations about the secret dealings behind the contract, Mediapart reveals how Dassault provided a remarkably generous financial gift to its local industrial partner Reliance Group, owned by Anil Ambani, a close friend of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The spiral of state-driven terror in 'gangsterized' Haiti

International

In Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, a succession of massacres since 2018 by criminal gangs of inhabitants in several neighbourhoods is denounced by rights organisations as a strategy by the country’s deeply unpopular president, Jovenel Moïse, to terrorise the population into submission. François Bonnet reports on the horrific events, and interviews one of Haiti’s leading young writers, Jean D’Amérique, whose recently published novel, Soleil à coudre, centres on one such neighbourhood.

Lebanon central bank chief target of corruption complaint in France

International — Link

French anti-corruption NGO Sherpa has filed a legal complaint against Lebanon's central bank governor Riad Salemeh for allegedly diverting for his personal gain public funds worth hundreds of millions of euros to France and elsewhere in Europe. 

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of corruption in phone tap affair

France

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty by a Paris court on Monday March 1st 2021 of corruption and influence peddling in the case known as the 'Paul Bismuth affair'. The ex-head of state was handed a three-year prison sentence with two of them suspended, though it appears unlikely he will serve time in jail and his lawyer said he will appeal against the conviction. It is the first time in French legal history that a former president of the Republic has been convicted of such serious crimes. The case stemmed from judicially-approved telephone taps of conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy and his friend and lawyer Thierry Herzog, who has also been convicted in the case. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports, with additional reporting by Ilyes Ramdani.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of corruption

France — Link

The ex-head of state was  found guilty of seeking to bribe a judge and handed a three-year sentence, two of them suspended.

Sarkozy corruption trial postponed until Thursday

France — Link

The trial in Paris of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy for allegedly trying to bribe a magistrate in return for information about an investigation into his party finances was suspended shortly after it opened on Wednesday to allow a medical examination of one of the two other defendants.

French rugby boss Laporte still in custody over corruption allegations

France — Link

Bernard Laporte, head of the French rugby federation, was questioned in police custody for a second day on Wednesday over allegations that he and two others placed pressure on the appeals committee of the French league to reduce a disciplinary punishment against rugby club Montpellier.