Nicolas Sarkozy

Cameron and Sarkozy in Tripoli to Meet New Libyan Leaders

International— Link

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy pay joint day-visit to Libya, pledging continued support for new leaders.

Arms dealer probe brings illegal funding scandal closer to Sarkozy

France— Investigation

Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine (photo), who enjoys longstanding close personal and professional links to ranking French presidential staff and ministers past and present, was on Wednesday formally placed under investigation - a French legal move that precedes official charges - for "aiding and abetting the misuse of company assets" and "receiving" the proceeds, during his role as an intermediary in a controversial weapons sale to Pakistan. The move is highly embarrassing for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, pointing a finger directly at both him and his entourage all of whom are now engulfed in a scandal of suspected illegal party funding involving massive secret kickbacks from a series of official arms deals. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

French ex-PM Dominique de Villepin cleared of smear campaign

France— Link

French appeal court upholds acquittal of former French PM on charges of slandering Nicolas Sarkozy in Clearstream scandal.

Now a judge points finger at Sarkozy in Bettencourt affair

France— Analysis

The Bettencourt affair began as a sordid family quarrel about money and abuse of influence over L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, and grew into a political scandal involving Europe's richest woman and the funding of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party. Now the judge who was kicked off the legal investigation speaks out in a new book, saying witnesses were too frightened to talk on the record. She also says a witness claimed to have seen Sarkozy take money personally. Bettencourt's former accountant also talks of intimidation and manipulation of her evidence. Mediapart editor François Bonnet reviews this latest explosive development in a scandal that is still rocking the French president.

How French intelligence shields the Sarkozy clan’s unofficial emissary

France— Investigation

In a series of exclusive reports that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the longstanding close links between France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisers and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy, before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal how the French intelligence agency, the DGSE, has sought to conceal all it knows about the businessman's activities.

Economic policy - between austerity and a Rocky Horror Show...

Économie— Opinion

The Prime Minister François Fillon has just announced a series of new austerity measures to produce a further 12 billion euros in savings for the government in 2011 and 2012. This follows a downgrading in the forecast for economic growth for both years. The measures include a new reduction in the benefits afforded by a variety of tax breaks and a temporary 3% tax on those with massive incomes. But, argues Laurent Mauduit, the overall package is just another sign of the government's incoherent and crazy economic policy. And one which he says risks tipping France back into recession.

The arms dealer, the French presidency and the dirty truth

France— Opinion

In July, Mediapart began the publication of a series of investigative articles about the very close and longstanding links between Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale, and Mediapart's revelations raise disturbing questions about other deals he was involved in. In a brief interview with Mediapart in July, Takieddine declared: "I'm a clean man and you're dirty. You're one of the filthy who are most productive in the muck." Here, Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel sets out the key issues exposed by the investigations, and argues why an unprecedented chain of corruption is strangling France's institutions.

When Total paid the bill for the Elysée's secret emissary

International— Investigation

France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale to Pakistan. In a series of investigations that began in July, Mediapart has revealed how Takieddine has long served as a secret diplomatic and business emissary for the staff of Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske unravel how Takieddine, backed by Sarkozy's Elysée Palace chief-of-staff, was paid almost 7 million euros by oil group Total in a gas field deal with the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Merkel and Sarkozy battle to save single currency

International— Link

The leaders of France and Germany set out a vision of an "economic government for the eurozone", vowing to defend the single currency.

Exclusive: how President Sarkozy’s team dealt with Gaddafi

International— Investigation

Mediapart has obtained confidential documents that reveal how international arms dealer Ziad Takieddine was mandated by Nicolas Sarkozy's staff, before and after he became president, to negotiate on their behalf major weapons and security contracts with the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.Takieddine was notably an intermediary for the sale of a French encrypted signals system to protect the Libyan regime from surveillance by the US-led Western communications interception network known as ‘Echelon'.Mediapart can also reveal that President Sarkozy's former chief-of-staff, the current French interior minister Claude Guéant misled, while under oath, a French parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances of French involvement in the freeing of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic jailed in Libya, in 2007.

How Greek bailout 'benefits Sarkozy'

France— Link

The €360 billion Greek debt crisis has, among other things, boosted French President Nicolas Sarkozy's chances of re-election next year.

Exclusive: how Sarkozy's team sought grace for Gaddafi's murderous henchman

International— Investigation

Mediapart has obtained documents revealing how French President Nicolas Sarkozy's close entourage, including serving and former ministers, attempted a reconciliation with the outlawed regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi which included moves to sideline an international warrant for the arrest of the colonel's security chief, Abdullah Senussi (photo, circled), sentenced in absentia in France for the bombing of a French airliner that left 170 people dead. While the International Criminal Court has now issued arrest warrants for Senussi, Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam, for "murder and crimes against humanity" during the recent upheavals in Libya. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on the muddied background to NATO's military campaign for democracy in Libya.

How Sarkozy aides saved arms dealer from paradise island 'death blow'

International— Investigation

Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing judicial investigation into suspected illegal political financing in France via commissions paid in weapons sales abroad, notably a sale of French submarines to Pakistan. In an ongoing series of investigations into the arms dealer's close ties with the entourage of President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mediapart reveals how, when Takieddine was brokering a weapons deal for Sarkozy when the latter was interior minister, he fell victim to a mysterious accident on the exclusive billionaires' retreat in the Caribbean island of Mustique. The minister's top aides rushed to save him from a near-certain death in what Takieddine claimed was an assassination attempt.

Sarkozy, the arms dealer, and a secret 350 million-euro commission

International— Investigation

A contract for the sale of submarines to Pakistan is currently the subject of a French judicial investigation into suspected illegal political party funding in France via commissions paid abroad. Several witnesses have identified Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine as being a principal intermediary in the deal. In this third report on the activities of the arms dealer and his close relations with President Nicolas Sarkozy's immediate entourage, Mediapart reveals how in 2003 Takieddine was destined to receive 350 million euros in secret commissions from another arms contract, via a company run by the interior ministry then headed by Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske investigate.

The secret financier who brings danger to the Sarkozy clan

International— Investigation

Ziad Takieddine is best known to the public in connection with the ongoing judicial investigations into suspected illegal kickbacks from ‘commissions' paid during the controversial sale of submarines by France to Pakistan during the 1990s. But Mediapart can now exclusively reveal the businessman and arms broker's privileged relations at the very heart of President Nicolas Sarkozy's inner circle. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske investigate a man who represents a political time bomb for the French presidency.