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


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.  

The historic significance of the Karachi Affair trial verdict

France — Analysis

On Monday June 15th 2020 a Paris court handed prison sentences to six men found guilty of organising a vast political funding scam involving kickbacks on French weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in what has become known as the 'Karachi Affair'. It was the first time in France that a criminal court has established that a presidential election campaign – in this case involving Édouard Balladur in 1995 – was funded by kickbacks from state arms deals. It is, says Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi, an object lesson in the weaknesses of a democracy in the face of corruption.

Former French minister and LVMH exec among six found guilty of political funding scam


A Paris court has handed prison sentences to six men found guilty of organising a vast political funding scam involving kickbacks on French weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The kickbacks, secretly transferred in cash sums, were to finance former French prime minister Édouard Balladur’s 1995 presidential election campaign. The men, who were on Monday given jail terms of between three and five years, include former minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and Nicolas Bazire, a senior executive at luxury goods group LVMH. The verdicts end the financial chapter of what has become known as the “Karachi Affair”, an ongoing judicial saga that centres on the murders of 11 French naval engineers in Pakistan in 2002. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report on the conclusions of the sentencing magistrates.  

Airbus agrees deal on bribery investigations in UK, US and France

International — Link

The European aerospace group is likely to pay large fines to end inquiries by Britain's SFO fraud investigation unit and other authorities.

Why an international investigation into Haiti aid scandal is urgent

International — Opinion

This week marked ten years since a devastating earthquake hit the impoverished Caribbean state of Haiti, when up to 300,000 people were killed and 1.5 million others were left homeless. The ensuing reconstruction programme drew billions of dollars in aid, but also led to massive corruption. Mediapart co-founder and former editor François Bonnet, who has regularly reported on the tragedy in Haiti, details the fiasco and argues here why a thorough investigation into the gigantic scams must be led under the auspices of the UN, and those found responsible must be prosecuted. Nothing less can restore confidence in international institutions – beginning with the UN itself.

Paris trial of ex-athletics chief Diack postponed to June

International — Link

The trial in Paris of Lamine Diack, the 86-year-old Senegalese former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, and five other defendants on charges of corruption and money laundering in connection with the doping scandal surrounding Russian athletes, has been postponed until June after new documents were provided to the court.

Documents place SocGen execs in question over Libyan corruption scam

International — Investigation

Giant French banking group Société Générale has admitted corrupting Libyan officials under the regime of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi to gain contracts worth more than 2 billion dollars. The scam involved paying vast secret commissions to a businessman intermediary via his offshore company based in Panama. In a 2017 statement recognising its role, the bank said that it “wishes to place on record its regret about the lack of caution of some of its employees”, but documents now obtained by Mediapart suggest the operation may have been validated at the highest level of the group’s management. Fabrice Arfi reports.

Trial opens in Paris into 'Karachi affair' funding scam

International — Link

The trial of six former high-ranking French government officials accused of taking part in the secret siphoning off of funds from arms sales to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to finance the presidential election campaign of former prime minister Edouard Balladur has opened in Paris.

Jailed Football Leaks whistleblower bites back at Portuguese prosecutors


Rui Pinto, the Portuguese whistleblower behind the Football Leaks revelations of widespread criminality in the world of professional football, ranging from fraud and tax evasion to match-fixing and political corruption, has been held for more than six months in preventive detention in conditions of solitary confinement in a Lisbon jail. Accused of illegal hacking of documents and attempted extorsion, the 30-year-old faces trial for 147 alleged offences relating to his disclosures of illegal practices in the football business in Portugal. But in a defiant statement, Pinto has slammed the Portuguese prosecution services for ignoring the evidence of corruption he gave them, of protecting those behind it, and of transforming him into “a sort of political prisoner”.

The whistleblowing doctor who took on French pharma giant over 'killer' drug


A trial opened in Paris on Monday centred on one of France’s biggest-ever pharmaceutical scandals, so vast and involving so many people that it is expected to last up to seven months. French pharmaceutical firm Servier is accused of hiding the killer side effects of its drug Mediator, a treatment for type-2 diabetes patients, but which was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant. Up to 2,000 patients are estimated to have died from pulmonary and heart disease caused by Mediator, the dangers of which the drug safety authorities, several of whose members are also standing trial, turned a blind eye to. The scandal was revealed ten years ago by pulmonologist Irène Frachon, whose dogged investigations have seen her ostracised by many in the medical establishment. She talks about her campaign and its aftermath in this interview with Rozenn Le Saint.

Prosecutor recommends former French PM and minister stand trial for alleged corruption scam

France — Investigation

Senior public prosecutor François Molins has concluded that former French prime minister Édouard Balladur and the defence minister who served under him, François Léotard, should be sent for trial for siphoning payments from public weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to fund Balladur’s presidential election campaign. Molins’s formal recommendations follow a lengthy judicial investigation into what has become known in France as “the Karachi affair”, a complex and far-reaching alleged corruption scam which surfaced after the murders of 11 French naval engineers in the Pakistani port city in 2002.

French parliament speaker under investigation in corruption case

France — Link

Richard Ferrand, president of the French lower house, the National Assembly and who is a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron has been placed under investigation over allegations he benefited improperly from the property deals of a health insurance fund he managed.