Australia to pay France 555m euros in settlement of subs row

France — Link

French defence minister Sebastien Lecornu said the settlement 'permits us to turn a page' on the diplomatic row over Australia's decision last year to cancel its purchase of French diesel-powered submarines, worth a total of 35 billion euros, in favour of a strategic pact with the US and UK in which it will receive technology to build nuclear submarines.

Renault sells its stake in Moscow plant

International — Link

Following pressure on it to follow other major western companies in withdrawing business from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, French carmaker Renault has announced the company is to cede its 68% stake in the biggest Russian vehicle manufacturer, AvtoVAZ, but with an option to buy it back within six years.

Former Kremlin insider reveals Putin’s system of corruption

International — Interview

In this second part of a lengthy interview he gave to Mediapart this month, oligarch Sergei Pugachev, once a Kremlin insider close to Vladimir Putin, says one of the Russian president’s key allies, a former fellow KGB officer, Sergei Chemezov, regularly negotiated secret commissions on arms deals which were paid into offshore accounts for the benefit of both Chemezov and Putin. According to Pugachev, that was also the case in an ill-fated deal for Russia’s purchase from France of several Mistral amphibious assault vessels.

Indonesia agrees deal with France for 42 Rafale fighter jets

International — Link

The Indonesian government on Thursday signed a deal for the immediate purchase from France of six Rafale fighter jets, with an option for a further 36, to replace an ageing air force fleet of mostly US F-16s and Russian Sukhois, and to a backdrop of rising US-China tensions in the Asian region.

French surgeon discovered trying to sell X-ray of Bataclan victim online

France — Investigation

French orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean placed for sale online an X-ray of a woman survivor of the November 2015 terrorist shooting attack at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, on which a Kalashnikov bullet can be seen lodged in her arm. The victim had not been asked her permission for the sale and publication of her X-ray, which the surgeon priced at 2,776 dollars. Following Mediapart’s revelation of the attempted sale, the Paris public hospital administration described Masmejean’s behaviour as “shocking and indecent” and he now faces legal and disciplinary action. Matthieu Suc reports.

France and Greece agree '5bn-euro' warship deal

International — Link

Meeting in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis anounced the conclusion of a deal, reportedly worth 5 bilion euros, for the sale by France to Greece of three frigates, and an option on a fourth, in what Macron called 'an audacious first step towards European strategic autonomy'.

Rafale jets sale to India: Macron, Hollande and the blind eye of France's anti-corruption services

International — Investigation

In this second of a three-part series of investigations into the controversial sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, Mediapart details how the then head of the French public prosecution services’ financial crimes branch, Éliane Houlette, shelved investigations into evidence of corruption behind the deal, despite the contrary opinion of her colleagues. France’s current president, Emmanuel Macron, and his predecessor, François Hollande, are cited in the allegations levelled in the case. Houlette has since justified her decision as preserving “the interests of France, the workings of institutions”. Yann Philippin reports. 

French unions warn of 'social timebomb' over Daimler sale of Smart factory


German carmaking giant Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, announced last month that it was to sell off its factory in Hambach, north-east France, where the Smart city car, another of the group’s marques, has been produced since 1997. Five years ago, staff at the plant accepted a management plan to abandon the legal 35-hour week, working a 39-hour week (excluding overtime) in return for job security. But now the 1,600 jobs at the site, turned over to making electric versions of the city car, are at risk, with just one potential purchaser in view: British company Ineos, which plans to produce a diesel-guzzling offroader. Dan Israel reports.

France threatens to veto British Steel sale to Chinese firm

International — Link

The French government has threatened to veto the sale of  British Steel to Chinese firm Jingye in norder to protect the functioning of the collapsed steelmaker's plant in Hayange, north-east France, which is considered a strategic national asset.

New French privatisations push begins with lottery sale

France — Link

The French government aims to sell down its stake in the Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) lottery operator from 72% currently to 20% when the shares are due to begin trading on November 21st, hoping raise up to 1.7 billion euros for state funds.

France 'to propose 36 more Rafale jets to India': report

International — Link

A deal for the supply by France to India of a further 36 Rafale fighter jets is to be discussed at a meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of this weekend's G7 summit in Biarritz, according to Indian media reports quoting unnamed sources. 

Dassault denies being forced into business deal with Modi ally

International — Link

French aerospace and defence group Dassault Aviation has issued a statement insisting it 'freely' chose India's Reliance Group, run by a businessman close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as its local industrial partner as part of the sale to New Delhi of 36 Rafale fighter planes, following the revelation by Mediapart of a document in which one of its senior executives is cited as saying the choice of Reliance was  'imperative and obligatory' in securing the contract. 

Indian defence minister dismisses Mediapart report

International — Link

Speaking at a press briefing in Paris on Thurday, Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated her government's claim that did not impose an Indian company run by a businessman close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as local industrial partner for Dassault Aviation in the sale to New Delhi of 36 Rafale fighter planes, despite new evidence published by Mediapart suggesting that was the case.

François Hollande, his partner’s film, and the French fighter jet sale to India

International — Investigation

The sale to India by France of 36 Dassault Rafale jet fighters, signed during the presidency of François Hollande, is at the centre of a growing scandal in India where opposition parliamentarians have demanded a detailed investigation of the deal, alleging favouritism, mismanagement of public funds, and the endangering of national security. They are notably suspicious of the circumstances by which India’s Reliance Group was assigned as Dassault’s industrial partner in the jets deal. As Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report here, at the very time the deal was struck, Reliance provided funding for a film produced by Hollande’s personal partner, the actress Julie Gayet.

Greece to buy two French frigates: report

International — Link

Greek media reports say Athens is to begin negotiating the purchase from France of two French-Italian-designed FFREM-class multimission frigates, and is eyeing a further deal for two French Gowind-class corvettes.