The mobile phones of five French government ministers were targeted by the Pegasus spyware sold to states worldwide by Israeli surveillance technology firm NSO Group, Mediapart can reveal. The presence of “markers” left by the spyware were discovered by an official French probe involving technical analyses of the devices. The development follows on revelations, first published in July, which found evidence that the surveillance tool was notably employed by NSO clients around the globe to target journalists, including two from Mediapart, politicians and regime opponents. Fabrice Arfi and Ellen Salvi report.
France's junior ministers for gender equality and child welfare have jointly called for a judicial investigation to be opened into accusations that convicted paedophile and multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell at the weekend, engaged in criminal sexual activity in France where he owned a property and frequently sojourned.
The official declarations by French government ministers of their personal wealth, which can be consulted online, show that French labour minister Muriel Pénicaud is the richest, with assets worth 7.5 million euros, and that environment minister Nicolas Hulot, a figurehead of the Green movement in the country, owns six cars, a motorboat and a motorbike.
Manuel Valls, appointed as French prime minister on Monday after the ruling Socialist Party suffered major losses in local elections last weekend, has revealed his new cabinet of 16 ministers, composed of an equal number of men and women. Beyond what is largely a reshuffle, there are two new faces: that of Ségolène Royal, the Socialist Party’s unsuccessful candidate in the 2007 presidential elections and who is also President François Hollande’s former partner, and François Rebsamen, a Senator and Mayor of Dijon and close friend of the president. Former finance minister Pierre Moscovici and education minister Vincent Peillon have not been included in the new government. After days of speculation, former justice minister Christiane Taubira was reappointed to the post despite past differences with Valls when he served as interior minister under the previous government of Jean-Marc Ayrault. Here, Mediapart reports on the winners and losers of the cabinet change and the power games and negotiations that preceded it.
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