Keyword: Edouard Balladur

Macron's high-risk spring as he faces worker discontent

By
The rail strike will be a big test of Emmanuel Macron's presidency. The rail strike will be a big test of Emmanuel Macron's presidency.

This week is the start of a critical period in Emmanuel Macron's presidency. Workers from the rail industry, Air France and the supermarket chain Carrefour have been taking industrial action while students have held sit-ins at a number of universities. The government says that these various actions with their different causes show an irrational fear of the “new world” that is dawning. In fact, argues Hubert Huertas, these protests stem from a weariness with years of talk about the need for austerity and reform - and they could yet threaten the presidency's power.

New bid to get former top French government aides tried over Karachi affair

By
Facing trial? Former government aides Thierry Gaubert and Nicolas Bazire. © DR Facing trial? Former government aides Thierry Gaubert and Nicolas Bazire. © DR

An investigation into claims that kickbacks from French arms deals were illegally used to finance the 1995 presidential campaign of former prime minister Édouard Balladur has been bogged down in legal wrangles since early 2016. Now, however, a senior prosecutor has called for six men said to be at the heart of the corruption scandal known as the 'Karachi affair' to stand trial. Fabrice Arfi reports.

Trump election campaign manager cited in French probe into illegal political funding

By and
Paul Manafort, campaign manager for Donald Trump, at the Republican convention in Cleveland. © Reuters Paul Manafort, campaign manager for Donald Trump, at the Republican convention in Cleveland. © Reuters

Donald Trump’s election campaign manager Paul Manafort is suspected by a French judicial investigation of having signed a fake contract with Paris-based arms dealer Ziad Takieddine to help the latter hide the real origin of cash seized by customs officers which he had smuggled into France from Switzerland. The incident occurred at the height of what has become known as the “Karachi Affair”, involving suspected illegal funding of former French prime minister Édouard Balladur’s 1995 presidential election campaign. Manafort is also suspected by the investigation of having invoiced the Balladur camp for unnecessary opinion polls during the campaign. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.  

The staggering perks paid to France's former presidents and prime ministers

By
France's three surviving presidents (left to right): Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. © Reuters France's three surviving presidents (left to right): Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. © Reuters

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.

Former French prime minister Édouard Balladur faces probe over Karachi affair

Ex-premier and his former defence minister face investigation over claims that arms sale commissions were used to fund 1995 presidential campaign.

Former top French government aides sent for trial in arms kickbacks scam

By
Thierry Gaubert et Nicolas Bazire © DR Thierry Gaubert et Nicolas Bazire © DR

At the end of an investigation that has lasted more than three years, six people, including a former minister and the current managing director of luxury goods firm LVMH, have been sent for trial for their alleged roles in a gigantic political funding scam that centred on secret cash kickbacks from French weapons sales abroad.  The case, one the biggest political corruption scandals to have emerged in France in recent decades, yet threatens to engulf the political masters of those accused - former French prime minister Édouard Balladur, his defence minister François Léotard, and Balladur’s budget minister, later French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi reports.       

Karachi affair: final proof of secret kickbacks to fund French politicians

By
MM. Sarkozy, Balladur et Léotard. © Reuters MM. Sarkozy, Balladur et Léotard. © Reuters

The prosecution authorities in Paris have recommended that six people, including three former senior political aides, face trial over the Karachi affair. The ex-aides, who at the time of the alleged offences were working for prime minister Édouard Balladur, defence minister François Léotard and budget minister Nicolas Sarkozy, are accused of setting up a massive system to siphon “commissions” from major arms deals back to France for political funding, or of receiving those illegal kickbacks. Mediapart has now obtained a copy of the prosecutors' legal reasoning, which details this complex web of networks and bank accounts and which, confirm the prosecutors, was aimed at the “secret funding of French politicians”. As Fabrice Arfi reports, the question still remains as to whether the advisors' political masters will one day face trial over the affair.

French judges want Sarkozy heard in kickbacks probe, says lawyer

Investigating magistrates want court that deals with alleged ministerial wrongdoings to hear former president as 'assisted witness' in Karachi affair.

Sarkozy’s legal woes roll on despite court ruling

Probe into ex-president's role in Bettencourt affair is over but other cases threaten damage to his reputation as he mulls over poltical comeback.

France investigates public transport chief in 'Karachi' probe

Pierre Mongin, chief of staff of former prime minister Edouard Balladur, has been placed under formal investigation by magistrates.

Ziad Takieddine says he paid illegal kickbacks to fund former French PM Edouard Balladur’s failed presidential bid

The Lebanese businessman says he handed over suitcases of cash in Geneva that came from arms deals with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Kuwaiti sheik's Swiss account reveals key cash clue to 'Karachi Affair'

By and

A Paris judge investigating the suspected illegal financing of former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur’s presidential election campaign has uncovered new and compelling evidence that he received a significant sum of cash siphoned off from a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, Mediapart can reveal. The discovery, a major development in what has become known as 'the Karachi Affair', centres on cash withdrawn from a Swiss bank account belonging to a member of Kuwait’s ruling Al-Sabah family, Sheik Ibrahim Al-Duaij Al-Sabah. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Judges step up hunt for the phantom figure behind the Karachi Affair

By and
El Assir El Assir

A key suspect in a major investigation into the French illegal political funding scandal known as the ‘Karachi Affair’ is also wanted for suspected money laundering by police in Spain, where he had close links with former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar and King Juan Carlos, Mediapart can reveal. Companies belonging to Abdul Rahman Al Assir (pictured), a Lebanese-born businessman and arms intermediary, received millions of euros in commissions from French weapons sales that are at the heart of corruption scam allegations implicating President Sarkozy and his close entourage. Despite an international arrest warrant issued against him, El Assir is still on the run. Mediapart, meanwhile, tracked him down in Geneva. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on the phantom witness that some are hoping will remain just so.

French judge finds key evidence in illegal funding probe

By

A Paris magistrate investigating suspected illegal political party funding in France has obtained documents (photo), extracts of which are exclusively published here by Mediapart, which amount to the most significant evidence yet indicating that former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur's presidential election campaign may have been partly funded via French weapons sales abroad. While the events date from the 1990s, they lie at the heart of what has become known as the Karachi Affair, a fast-developing corruption scandal implicating current French President Nicolas Sarkozy and several of his senior political allies. Fabrice Arfi reports.

The secret financier who brings danger to the Sarkozy clan

By and
Brice Hortefeux et Ziad Takieddine. © Photo Mediapart Brice Hortefeux et Ziad Takieddine. © Photo Mediapart

Ziad Takieddine is best known to the public in connection with the ongoing judicial investigations into suspected illegal kickbacks from ‘commissions' paid during the controversial sale of submarines by France to Pakistan during the 1990s. But Mediapart can now exclusively reveal the businessman and arms broker's privileged relations at the very heart of President Nicolas Sarkozy's inner circle. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske investigate a man who represents a political time bomb for the French presidency.