Mediapart is publishing a series of recordings of police phone taps involving the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini. These extraordinary tapes, which date from 2013, reveal the de facto existence of a state within a state, where private and public interests became intertwined. The first series of judicially-approved recordings reveal how after leaving his intelligence post Squarcini, nicknamed 'La Squale' ('The Shark'), was asked by the French luxury goods group LVMH to “infiltrate” an independent magazine in order to spy on it. Neither Squarcini nor LVMH wanted to comment on the content of the tapes. Fabrice Arfi and Pascale Pascariello report.
Mediapart is not a back-room intelligence agency but a news-gathering organization. We do not spy on anyone nor do we install secret microphones, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel. We are content with revealing information in the public interest while respecting press laws. That is true in the current affair involving President Emmanuel Macron's security aide Alexandre Benalla just as it was in the earlier Bettencourt, Sarkozy-Gaddafi and Cahuzac affairs, he says.
After an appeal, former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac has received a reduced sentence for tax fraud, making it now highly unlikely he will serve any time in prison. It was an unexpected and happy outcome for the former minister whose tax dodge was first exposed by Mediapart in 2012. But, as Fabrice Arfi argues, it sends out an unfortunate message in a country which is already reluctant to imprison white collar criminals – especially those in public life.
At the end of two weeks of hearings, a Paris court on Thursday deferred until May its verdict on the appeal by disgraced former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac against a three-year prison sentence handed to him in 2016 for tax fraud and money laundering. Cahuzac, 65, who Mediapart revealed in 2012 held a secret tax-haven bank account while leading a crackdown on tax fraud, did not contest his conviction, but sought a reduced sentence which would allow him to escape prison. While his lawyers argued that Cahuzac was a “broken” and “finished” man who risked taking his own life if sent behind bars, the prosecution has reiterated its demand for a three-year sentence. Mediapart legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan was in court to follow the proceedings.
Former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac and his ex-wife Patricia were on Thursday found guilty by a Paris court of tax fraud and moneylaundering the proceeds of the tax fraud. The socialist politician was sentenced to three years in prison and banned from holding electoral office for five years, against which he immediately appealed. Patricia Cahuzac was handed a two-year prison sentence. The verdict was announced almost four years to the day since Mediapart published the first revelations about the secret foreign bank account belonging to Cahuzac, who was then in charge of a crackdown on tax evasion. Michel Deléan reports.
At the end of a two-week trial for tax fraud and money laundering, Paris prosecutors this week demanded a sentence of three years in jail for former socialist French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, and two years in prison for his former wife Patricia. The court will announce its verdict and sentencing in December. The trial was prompted by Mediapart’s exclusive revelations in 2012 of how Cahuzac, in charge of a crackdown on tax fraud in France, had held a secret bank account abroad for two decades. Michel Deléan and Fabrice Arfi report on the hearings.
Close to the end of a two-week trial, the prosecutor demanded that Jérôme Cahuzac, who was exposed by Mediapart for holding a tax-evading bank account abroad, be also barred from elected office for five years and that his wife be sentenced to two years in jail.
The trial of the former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac for tax fraud and money laundering opened in Paris on Monday, the same day that it was revealed that French prosecutors want former president Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial for “illegal financing” of his 2012 election campaign. Mediapart investigative reporter Fabrice Arfi says that such high-profile cases give us an insight into the ethics of public life in France. He argues that rather than simply looking the other way, the country needs to own up to the shameful nature of the situation.
Serge Dassault, the head of the aviation and defence group that bears his name, a right-wing senator and France's sixth richest person, is accused of laundering the proceeds of tax fraud and of hiding part of his wealth from Parliamentary authorities. The trial, which started on Monday July 4th, focuses on cash hidden in offshore accounts which was allegedly later used to buy votes in the town near Paris where Dassault was mayor. As Yann Philippin reports, the origins of some of these accounts goes back to the days of Serge Dassault's father Marcel, who founded the aviation group.
The Panama Papers revelations have rocked the world with disclosures of how Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca mounted offshore financial structures for the rich and powerful that enable tax evasion and money laundering on a staggering scale. Beyond the sensational cases emerging in the leaked documents, Mossack Fonseca is also cited in several judicial investigations into some of the most important corruption scandals in France over recent years. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Mathilde Mathieu, Yann Philippin and Ellen Salvi report.
by Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Mathilde Mathieu, Yann Philippin and Ellen Salvi