Delivery of massive cruise ship gives French exports a boost

France — Link

The delivery to a Swiss maritime company in June of a 184,011-tonne, luxury cruise liner built at the French port of Saint-Nazaire, at a cost of 1 billion euros, has helped turn around France's second-quarter exports, up by 2.6% in value against the first quarter.   

Macron's top aide Alexis Kohler under investigation over 'unlawful conflict of interest'


On September 23rd the president's chief of staff was placed under formal investigation for “unlawful conflict of interest” over claims he hid his family ties to the MSC shipping line and intervened in its favour on several occasions  while working as a senior civil servant. Alexis Kohler has also been placed under the status of “assisted witness” for “influence peddling” in relation to the same case. As Martine Orange reports, the news comes after the Élysée spent five years trying – in vain - to bury the case.

Mystery of vanishing emails as top Macron aide faces ongoing 'conflict of interest' probe

France — Investigation

President Emmanuel Macron's key aide in the Élysée, his chief of staff Alexis Kohler, has faced two investigations into an alleged “conflict of interest” and “influence peddling” over his family links with major shipping line MSC. The first was dropped back in 2018 but another was launched in 2020 and is still ongoing. The current investigation has unearthed some troubling documents for Alexis Kohler, whose official title is secretary-general of the Élysée. Not only do they show him to have been far more involved than thought with issues involving MSC while working as a civil servant, some potentially important documents and emails have also vanished from certain locations - though they have been retrieved elsewhere – in what appears to have been an attempt to remove the paper trail of his interventions. Martine Orange reports on the continuing investigation into President Macron's right-hand man.

How Macron's chief of staff was cleared over probe after president intervened

France — Investigation

President Emmanuel Macron intervened personally in an investigation into a potential conflict of interest involving his chief of staff, Alexis Kohler, Mediapart can reveal. In the summer of 2019 a statement from the president was sent to France's financial crimes prosecution unit clearing Kohler's name after detectives investigating the case had written a damning report. Following President Macron's intervention, a second police report was written which reached very different conclusions. A month later, the whole case was dropped. Martine Orange investigates a move by the president which appears to breach the doctrine of the separation of powers between the government and the judicial system.

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.

Mystery of the giant shipping line linked to President Macron's chief of staff

International — Investigation

Why was Alexis Kohler, who is now secretary general at the Elysee and chief of staff to President Emmanuel Macron, so keen to become finance director at the shipping firm MSC and its cruise company subsidiary MSC Cruises? Yes, the Italian-Swiss group is world number two in maritime freight, is a major cruise company and controls a number of port terminals. But it also uses tax havens and practices tax avoidance, keeps its business confidential and operates in an environment where dangerous shadows lurk. Martine Orange and Cecilia Ferrara investigate.

Why Macron's chief of staff is target of corruption probe

France — Investigation

The French prosecution services have launched an investigation into suspected corruption by President Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff Alexis Kohler, following an official complaint lodged by anti-corruption NGO Anticor. The complaint cited revelations last month by Mediapart into Kohler’s role, when he was a senior civil servant, in affairs in which the interests of a shipping company owned by members of his close family were at stake. Mediapart’s Martine Orange, who first broke the story, details here the background to the case that now threatens the downfall of the man described by French daily Le Monde as “the most powerful senior civil servant in France”.