Shamed Macron aide claims regular contact with president whose entourage is 'worse than the mafia'

France — Investigation

The scandal surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, who was fired over media revelations that he violently assaulted participants in May Day marches in Paris this year while illegally wearing police apparel, escalated this month after Mediapart’s revelations that he has continued to use a diplomatic passport while conducting business trips abroad, notably in Israel and several African countries. Now, in an exclusive interview with Mediapart, he claims to continue to regularly discuss ongoing political issues with Macron, despite the Élysée’s insistence that he has “no further contact” with the French president. Benalla, 27, says his mobile phone records provide the truth of his claims, while he also accuses Macron’s entourage as behaving like a “mafia” against him. Fabrice Arfi reports on the deepening mystery of Benalla’s relationship with the French president.

France calls on EU to improve Syrian passport checks

France — Link

Call to detect false Syrian passports comes after two of the suicide bombers in the Paris attacks were found to be carrying such documents.

France seizes passports of six 'Syria-bound' citizens

France — Link

Officials say the move, carried out under new counter-terrorism laws, came amid fears the men wanted to join Islamic State.

European citizenship for sale - only the wealthy need apply


While the European Union is placing increased resources into blocking clandestine immigration to the continent, its member states, notably those of the south, worst-hit by the financial crisis, are mounting schemes to sell residency rights and even citizenship to wealthy non-EU foreigners in an attempt to attract millions of euros into state coffers. To qualify for most of the schemes it suffices to buy into luxury property, a deal which is notably attracting Russian, Chinese and Middle East investors. The European Commission, meanwhile, says it has no say in the cynical and apparently legal business of selling European citizenship. Ludovic Lamant reports.