Keyword: Nicolas Sarkozy

A Q&A guide to the Karachi affair

Nicolas Sarkozy (l) and Edouard Balladur. © Reuters Nicolas Sarkozy (l) and Edouard Balladur. © Reuters

It began with an article published by Mediapart. Now it has become known in France as l'affaire Karachi and dubbed 'Karachigate' by the international press. It is potentially one of the biggest French political scandals of the past two decades, engulfing President Nicolas Sarkozy along with a former president and two ex-prime ministers. Here we present a simple Q & A guide to help understand a complex and fast-moving story involving multi-billion-euro arms deals, political funding, shell companies, shadowy intermediaries - and the murders of 11 French naval engineers.

Spotlight on the French government reshuffle

In: Alain Juppé (left) with Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters In: Alain Juppé (left) with Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters

The French ministerial reshuffle in November appeared to announce the start of the 2012 presidential election campaign and an attempt to kickstart a government engulfed by scandals and social unrest. The new ministerial line-up saw a strengthening of ministers loyal to President Nicolas Sarkozy, a return of old-school Gaullists and the re-appointment of François Fillon as prime minister. It also saw the exit of the Centrists and figures from the renegade Left. Click here for Mediapart's reports and commentary, and the complete list of the new government team.

Karachi witness reveals 'kickback blackmail' attempt

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A key witness in the investigation into suspected illegal political funding in France from bribes allocated for the sale of French submarines to Pakistan has given testimony of a blackmail attempt against senior government figures, including Nicolas Sarkozy, in the months before the 2007 presidential elections and centred on allegedly compromising information about the kickbacks. We reveal here what he told a French judge.

Karachi bomb blast: the astonishing revelations of a French defence minister

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Revelations from former French defence minister Charles Millon, testifying before an investigating magistrate, have led to calls that President Nicolas Sarkozy be questioned over arms deal kickbacks allegedly behind a bomb attack in which 11 French naval engineers were murdered in Pakistan.

How the Karachi affair caught up with Nicolas Sarkozy

The families of 11 French engineers killed in a bomb blast in Pakistan in 2002 want French President Nicolas Sarkozy to be formerly questioned by an investigating magistrate about what he knows of a corruption deal linked to the attack.

The deal is suspected to have involved illegal political party funding in France, paid through secret kick-backs from the sale of submarines to Pakistan, a scam largely confirmed in November in the testimony, before a judge, of a former French defence minister.

Mediapart, which has led the revelations over what is now known as 'the Karachi affair', has produced a video report clearly explaining the backround to the scandal now engulfing the French president. Click here to watch the video and to read a selection of Mediapart reports on the story.

Weakened? Sarkozy has other plans

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Many observers have interpreted the recent French government reshuffle as a sign of weakness on the part of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. On the contrary, argues Mediapart editor François Bonnet, the president has prepared a savvy tactic for re-election.

The ins and outs of the French government reshuffle

In: Alain Juppé (left) with Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters In: Alain Juppé (left) with Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters

The long-awaited French government reshuffle, completed Sunday evening, has ushered in a ministerial team largely composed of President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party stalwarts, in a move that appears to launch the president's bid for re-election in 2012. Out go the Centrist movement heavyweights, along with the few renegades from the Left. Géraldine Delacroix and Michaël Hajdenberg sketch who's who and who's no more, and present the complete list of new government members.

The farce of Sarkozy's reshuffle and the crisis it cannot hide

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No control: President Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters No control: President Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has re-appointed François Fillon as prime minister, and the long-awaited ministerial reshuffle has happened. The president hopes it will turn a political page on a volatile social crisis and the scandals rocking his presidency. But, argues Mediapart's Laurent Mauduit, the stage-managed media rumours surrounding the future government and an abscence of political debate before its composition speak volumes about the president's attachment to democracy as well as the extent of a crisis within his own political camp.

Bettencourt chauffeur adds to Sarkozy campaign fund allegations

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Former Bettencourt chauffeur Dominique Gautier © TF1 Former Bettencourt chauffeur Dominique Gautier © TF1
In an exclusive interview with Mediapart, a former chauffeur to L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and her late husband André has added to allegations of secret financing of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign.

The scandalous intimidation of the French media

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MM. Sarkozy et Guéant © Reuters MM. Sarkozy et Guéant © Reuters

Following disturbing recent incidents of espionage, break-ins and intimidation targeting the French press, and notably this website, editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel reveals here what Mediapart has discovered about official attempts aimed at destabilising journalists involved in investigations, notably the Bettencourt affair, that have embarassed President Nicolas Sarkozy. Some of the accounts beggar belief. He calls here for politicians and institutions to stand up an be counted for in defending the essential right that is the freedom of information.

Inside story: the Constitutional Council, Balladur and the row over his election funds

In May, 2002, eleven French naval engineers died in a bomb attack in the Pakistani port of Karachi, where they had been helping to build three submarines sold by France to Pakistan in 1994. The ongoing Paris-based judicial investigation into the murders is working on the theory that they were murdered in revenge for the non-payment by France to intermediaries of huge cash kickbacks. It has found evidence suggesting the kickbacks may have also involved illegal political funding in France. Central to this allegation are the presidential election campaign expenses of former prime minister Edouard Balladur, for whom Nicolas Sarkozy was campaign spokesman and which are due to be the subject of a second judicial investigation. Both deny any wrongdoing. However, Mediapart reveals how France's top administrative court smothered evidence suggesting the contrary.

Dinners, cash and Sarkozy: what Bettencourt's accountant told Mediapart

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Claire Thibout, after her Mediapart interview, on French TV channel France 2. Claire Thibout, after her Mediapart interview, on French TV channel France 2.

Claire Thibout is a former accountant to L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and Clymène, the company that manages the billionaire's wealth. Her exclusive interview with Mediapart this summer, reproduced here in English, had the effect of a political bombshell in France. Thibout notably alleged that numerous French politicians, including Nicolas Sarkozy, pocketed gifts of cash-stuffed envelopes during their visits to the Bettencourt home.

Karachi: bribes, bloodshed and the buried truth

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L'ancien président pakistanais Pervez Musharraf inspecte, en 2003, à Karachi, les sous-marins Agosta 90 B de la DCN, vendus au Pakistan en 1994.  © Reuters L'ancien président pakistanais Pervez Musharraf inspecte, en 2003, à Karachi, les sous-marins Agosta 90 B de la DCN, vendus au Pakistan en 1994. © Reuters

On May 8th, 2002, a group of 11 French naval engineers died in a bomb attack in the Pakistani port of Karachi. They had been helping with the construction of three Agosta 90 attack submarines, sold to Pakistan by France in 1994. An ongoing French judicial investigation into the blast is now working on the theory the murders were in retaliation for the non-payment by France of huge cash kickbacks promised to secure the deal. But evidence increasingly suggests that the bribe money was also ultimately destined for illegal political party funding in France.

Bernard Kouchner, a minister stuck between a rock and a hard place

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Bernard Kouchner was French foreign affairs minister until the reshuffle. It was a largely undignified departure for the former Socialist Party bigwig and humanitarian aid pioneer. In this article first published in September, Thomas Cantaloube, with help of ministry insiders, charts the demise of a man who ended his career as an ineffectual minister serving his former political adversaries.