From 2016 to 2019 an officer in the French air force reserve worked for the United Nations in New York in a technology and communications department that helped support peacekeeping missions. Officially the French military had seconded his services free of charge to the UN. But in reality the experienced officer was working for and being paid by France's major defence and electronics firm Thales, according to documents seen by Mediapart. As Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report, senior figures in the French state were aware of what was going on.
The Alliance Française was set up more than 130 years ago to promote French language and culture and is one of France's flagship ambassadors overseas. But today this lofty cultural organisation is embroiled in conflict with a number of senior executives around the world rising up against their boss in Paris, Jérôme Clément. They say he is authoritarian, lacks vision and that under him management is “amateurish”. He says parts of the network are still stuck in the 19th century and insists he has the government's full backing for his planned changes. Fabien Cazeaux reports.
The delayed trial of the renowned art dealer Guy Wildenstein on tax fraud and money laundering charges has finally begun in Paris. Wildenstein and two other members of the Franco-American dynasty are accused of hiding from the tax authorities vast assets they inherited from the estate of Daniel Wildenstein senior, who died in 2001. The French authorities are claiming a total of 566 million euros in back taxes. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan has been in court to hear some of the extraordinary details in a trial that is expected to last for a month.