In 2004 a bombing raid killed nine French soldiers and an American aid worker at Bouaké in Ivory Coast. Fourteen years later, and after years of painstaking investigation in the face of bureaucratic obstruction from the French authorities, prosecutors in Paris have said that three pilots should stand trial over the attack. As Antton Rouget reports, it could also pave the way for three senior French government ministers at the time - Dominique de Villepin, Michèle Alliot-Marie and Michel Barnier – to stand trial too.
The middleman Alexandre Djouhri has been released on bail by a court in London pending proceedings to extradite him to France. Examining magistrates in Paris investigating claims that Libyan regime money was used to finance Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign want to question Djouhri over crucial documents found at his Swiss home. Mediapart understands these show that the middleman did indeed oversee the payment of half a million euros of Libyan origin to President Sarkozy's most trusted lieutenant, Claude Guéant. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.
In 2009 the former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin was paid nearly half a million euros in money which originated in a Libyan state fund, Mediapart can reveal. Details of the payment, which came via middleman and business Alexandre Djouhri, have been unearthed by investigators examining another 500,000 euro payment, which was made to Nicolas Sarkozy's former right-hand man Claude Guéánt and which passed through a similar route. Villepin has told detectives he was unaware of the Libyan origin of the money. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.
A total of 20 student and youth organisations have called for protests on Wednesday, March 9th against the government's proposed reforms of employment law. Though the formal presentation of the bill has now been postponed pending further discussions with trade unions, ministers still fear the spectre of widespread social mobilisation, of the kind seen ten years ago that sank plans for new workplace contracts. In particular, President François Hollande is afraid the final months of his presidency would be doomed if students take to the streets in large numbers. Lénaïg Bredoux and Faïza Zerouala report on the unpredictability of France's student protests.
In November 2004 nine French soldiers and an American humanitarian worker were killed at Bouaké in the Ivory Coast in a bombing raid carried out by that country's air force. Yet more than eleven years later the foreign mercenaries who are thought to have conducted the raid have never been brought to account. Now a French investigating judge has recommended that three senior French ministers who served under President Jacques Chirac at the time - Dominique de Villepin, Michèle Alliot-Marie and Michel Barnier – stand trial for hindering the initial investigation. Antton Rouget reports.
Mediapart has gained access to a detailed account of the annual payments made to former French presidents and prime ministers in a lifelong system of perks and privileges that beggars belief. With items ranging from newspaper and dry-cleaning costs to the payment of staff, offices and vehicles, the country’s three surviving former heads of state cost the taxpayer a yearly 6.2 million euros. Former prime ministers, meanwhile, receive tens of thousands of euros annually for staff and vehicles, including one who left office 25 years ago. Mathilde Mathieu reports.
For decades he has enjoyed close personal and professional relations with French-speaking Africa's most prominent leaders, including notorious despots. Robert Bourgi (photo), dubbed ‘Monsieur Afrique' in France, is an advisor and go-between for both the French presidency and African heads of state. He created a political storm in September after publicly accusing his one-time boss, former President Jacques Chirac, along with former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, of receiving millions of euros in secret cash payments from several African leaders. Mediapart has obtained exclusive access to a statement he gave earlier this month to magistrates in which he details the cash payment claims, including an alleged lunchtime gift to Villepin of one million euros by the president of Equatorial Guinea. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has re-appointed François Fillon as prime minister, and the long-awaited ministerial reshuffle has happened. The president hopes it will turn a political page on a volatile social crisis and the scandals rocking his presidency. But, argues Mediapart's Laurent Mauduit, the stage-managed media rumours surrounding the future government and an abscence of political debate before its composition speak volumes about the president's attachment to democracy as well as the extent of a crisis within his own political camp.