Macron security aide affair: the secret recordings that change everything

France — Investigation

An investigation by Mediapart sheds dramatic new light on the affair involving Alexandre Benalla, who was a security aide to President Emmanuel Macron until he was sacked when video footage emerged showing that he had used violence against protestors at a demonstration. In particular recordings of Benalla talking to the former head of security for the ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, who also lost his job over the scandal, reveal details about a secret meeting that breached a judicial control order, about a security contract with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and Benalla's ongoing communications with President Macron. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

Macron weakened by departures from entourage

France — Analysis

The head of communications at the Élysée has just announced that he is to leave his post by the end of January. Sylvain Fort, who is close to Emmanuel Macron having worked alongside him for more than two years, proclaimed his “total loyalty” to the French president. But this and reports of other possible departures from the president's inner circle have further weakened a presidency which is embroiled in the affair involving former security aide Alexandre Benalla and the ongoing social movement carried out by the so-called from the yellow vest protestors. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.

Macron security aide affair: Alexandre Benalla says he concealed evidence

France — Investigation

Paris prosecutors have refused to broaden the scope of the investigation of the Alexandre Benalla affair into claims that evidence in the case was concealed. This is despite the fact that, according to documents seen by Mediapart, President Emmanuel Macron's former security aide himself claimed that he had arranged for evidence to be hidden. The affair concerns claims – backed by video footage – that Benalla and another official unlawfully took part in the arrest of a May Day demonstrator in a Paris park earlier this year. Pascale Pascariello, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Proof of Macron chief of staff’s lie over family links to shipping firm

International — Investigation

Contrary to what he has stated, President Emmanuel Macron's chief of staff Alexis Kohler has not always revealed his family links to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and in his duties as a senior public servant has not always stood aside from issues involving the giant Italian-Swiss shipping firm. Official documents from the major French port of Le Havre, seen by Mediapart, show that Kohler took part in discussions and votes concerning the company while he sat on the port's Supervisory Board as a civil servant from 2010 to 2012. Laurent Mauduit and Martine Orange investigate.

Why the buck stops with Macron over Benalla scandal

France — Opinion

Without Emmanuel Macron there would have been no Alexandre Benalla at the Élysée; for the man who dressed with police insignia and assaulted demonstrators owes everything to the president. But, equally, there would be no Benalla scandal without the support given by the president of the Republic to his trusted aide. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel says that it is this protection, even lying, that makes this scandal an affair of state.

Erdogan visits France hoping to rekindle relationship with Europe

France — Link

Talks at Elysée set to cover Syria and EU-Turkey relations, but host Macron is also likely to voice concern over Erdogan’s post-coup purges.

Why President Macron chose Morocco for his first visit outside Europe

International — Analysis

Emmanuel Macron's first visit beyond Europe as French head of state was to Morocco, where anti-corruption protests have caused unprecedented unrest over the past seven months. The visit brought succour to the embattled kingdom but was also a little unsettling for Rabat, which has yet to fully understand the new Macron administration. But it was essentially a trip to signal continuity in Franco-Moroccan relations. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.

Outsider Macron sets sights on presidency

France — Link

Former banker had never run in an election campaign before but after topping Sunday's vote he is now favourite to win the run-off on May 7th.

Ex-economy minister aims for presidential bid to 'transform France'

France — Link

Minutes after quitting government, former Hollande protégé Emmanuel Macron sets his sights on 2017 presidential election.

Sarkozy aide probed over alleged opinion polls scam

France — Link

Sarkozy's former chief of staff and interior minister Claude Guéant placed under investigation for complicity in Elysée opinion poll probe.

France train shooting : Hollande awards Légion d'honneur

France — Link

French president tells three Americans and a Briton who disarmed attacker: 'You put your lives at risk in order to defend freedom.'

Sarkozy's ex-advisor under investigation for 'pointless' opinion polls

France — Link

Patrick Buisson faces claims that his firm pocketed more than 10 million euros for conducting opinion polls serving no public interest.

Hollande and Merkel to meet to discuss Greek referendum outcome

International — Link

Monday meeting at the Elysée, announced shortly after polls closed in Greece, comes after apparent Franco-German differences on the issue.

Spain's Felipe cuts short French visit after fatal plane crash

France — Link

Just hours after arriving in Paris, his first trip abroad as monarch, Felipe VI said he was ending his three-day state visit because of jet tragedy.

Unidentified drones fly over Paris at night

France — Link

Special investigation team set up after the unmanned aircraft flew over the US Embassy, the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks in French capital.