Keyword: Corruption

French oil giant Total faces corruption trial

The company, whose CEO died in a plane crash last month, is accused of bribing Iranian officials for contracts beginning in the 1990s.

The obscenity of corruption

Le procureur anti-mafia Roberto Scarpinato © Reuters Le procureur anti-mafia Roberto Scarpinato © Reuters

Earlier this month, Mediapart organised a public debate on the issue of corruption and how to fight this scourge of democracy. The honorary guest and speaker at this rich evening of discussion was Roberto Scarpinato, a senior Italian magistrate and veteran anti-Mafia investigator who since February 2013 has served as public prosecutor in Palermo, Sicily. Scarpinato has regularly denounced, and prosecuted, the hidden corruption and collusion with the Mafia among the Italian establishment. Here, Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel analyses the political sense this tireless and courageous figure gives to his mission, and which offers inspiration to all those who seek to eradicate both the corrupt practices that have gangrened society, and the oligarchs that feed off them.

Court suspends investigation into Sarkozy corruption plot

The probe into former president's alleged attempt to corrupt a judge is held up by his legal challenge that revealing phone taps were unlawful.

The judicial cloud darkening Sarkozy's new bid for power

 © Reuters © Reuters

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday announced, via Facebook, that he will run in elections this autumn to become head of the conservative opposition party, the UMP, ending months of speculation over his widely-tipped return to active politics. Sarkozy’s move to grab the reins of the UMP is regarded as the first stage in his ultimate aim to stand as the party’s presidential election candidate in 2017. Meanwhile, he faces significant obstacles with his implication in numerous investigations into suspected corruption, along with other cases that target his close allies. Michel Deléan reports on the judicial minefield awaiting Sarkozy, and which is arguably what has driven his return to the fray.

Accusations against him ‘grotesque’ says Nicolas Sarkozy

In TV interview the former French president portrays himself as victim of an allegedly politically-motivated section of the country's judiciary.

The element of corruption that lurks behind the deal between Alstom and GE

By and
 © Reuters © Reuters

The long-running saga of negotiations over General Electric’s 16.9 billion-dollar bid for the energy arm of French engineering group Alstom continued this week when GE’s chief executive Jeff Immelt met for further negotiations with French President François Hollande. GE is engaged in a poker match with the French government which has made no secret of its preference for a mooted counter-bid from German firm Siemens, despite the Alstom board’s choice to do a deal with the US giant. But hidden behind all the talk of decisions of industrial strategy, synergy and job guarantees, a quite separate consideration appears to help explain both the rapidity and secrecy of the deal first agreed between between Alstom and GE on April 23rd, the day when a former senior Alstom executive was arrested in the US Virgin Islands on corruption charges. Fabrice Arfi and Martine Orange report.

French tycoon Dassault investigated for vote-rigging

The former mayor is being probed over vote buying, complicity in illegal election campaign financing and exceeding campaign spending limits.

How the Hebrew word 'me’anyen' was born from a French corruption scandal

The Hebrew for 'interesting' was invented for an 1893 newspaper report on a graft scandal during the building of the Panama Canal.   

Sarkozy denounces "Stasi" phone-tapping

Angry former president likens eavesdropping to actions of former East German police and says Republic's principles have been 'trampled' on.

Sarkozy and top French magistrate in conspiracy scandal sparked by phone taps


A judicial investigation has been opened into evidence obtained via police phone taps that Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog received highly confidential information from a senior French magistrate about two legal cases involving the former French president. In exchange for the illicitly-gained information, Sarkozy was allegedly asked to use his influence to obtain the appointment of the the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, to a lucrative retirement post on Monaco’s state council. Michel Deléan reports on the latest developments in an affair that has rocked France’s political and judicial establishment and which may announce the end of Sarkozy’s planned return to politics.

French billionaire Senator Serge Dassault stripped of immunity in graft probe

The 88 year-old right-wing Senator and industrialist allegedly paid out millions of euros to buy votes when he was mayor of a town near Paris.

The smokescreen of French privacy laws


Tepid French public reaction to political scandals, and also to the romantic affairs of presidents, is often at odds with how the same events would be judged in other developed countries. In parallel to this, France has some of the toughest laws in Europe protecting personal privacy – and which are now cited in legal action taken against the magazine Closer by actress Julie Gayet following its revelations of her secret relationship with President François Hollande. Here, Philippe Riès argues that the privacy laws used by politicians is too often a tool to disguise the institutionalised excesses and corruption of a monarchic elite, served by a largely submissive media and reinforced by a puzzling public indifference that places democracy in danger.

When the ruler of one of the world's poorest countries led his family on a 7.7M-euro Paris shopping spree

Denis Sassou Nguesso en 2009.  © Reuters Denis Sassou Nguesso en 2009. © Reuters

Mediapart has gained access to evidence gathered by French police that establishes how Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his family, whose country features on the World Bank’s list of ‘Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’, spent at least 7.7 million euros, mostly from Congolese public funds, during a four-year shopping spree in upmarket Paris stores on mostly jewellery, watches and clothes. Police have also partly established how the clan siphoned off Congolese state funds via a network of offshore companies. Fabrice Arfi reports.

Sarkozy loses appeal in Bettencourt case, now faces possible trial for 'abuse' of L'Oréal heiress


In a much-awaited decision, the Bordeaux court of appeal has ruled that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy should remain under investigation for exploiting L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s dementia to obtain funds for his 2007 election campaign. The court threw out Sarkozy’s appeal along with several others lodged by fellow suspects cited in the case, and which included a demand that the investigating magistrates should be removed from the case for reason of their alleged impartiality. The ruling announced on Tuesday means Sarkozy could now face trial on the charge of ‘abuse of weakness’, about which a decision is expected within weeks. Michel Deléan reports. 

Election corruption claims: how the 'Dassault System' worked

By Pascale Pascariello
Serge Dassault a admis avoir acheté l'élection municipale de 2010 dans un enregistrement réalisé en novembre 2012.  © Reuters Serge Dassault a admis avoir acheté l'élection municipale de 2010 dans un enregistrement réalisé en novembre 2012. © Reuters

The billionaire French industrialist Serge Dassault, who was caught on tape saying he paid money to 'buy' an election, is to appear before examining magistrates next month as a witness in an investigation into the attempted murder of the two men who made that recording. Meanwhile a participant in the alleged electoral corruption that Dassault is said to have created speaks exclusively to Mediapart about how the 'system' worked. In doing so he makes a plea for the judicial authorities to help him – claiming his life is now in danger. Pascale Pascariello reports.