Seven members of an allegedly corrupt electoral system put in place by the well-known billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault in a town south-east of Paris, including the current mayor, are to stand trial. Ordering the court hearing, investigating judge Serge Tournaire referred to an “unprecedented” level of election corruption, including vote-buying. Mediapart's Yann Philippin, who has co-written a book on the subject, reports on how the details of what has been dubbed the “Dassault System” are finally to be heard in a courtroom.
Serge Dassault, who died on May 28th, 2018, at the age of 93, was a billionaire industrialist in the aviation sector, a former Senator and mayor, and the owner of the conservative daily newspaper Le Figaro. Prevented from having a major role the family business empire until the death of his father, Serge Dassault was driven by ambition and the desire to surpass what Marcel Dassault achieved. But despite his undoubted business successes, Serge Dassault's own legacy was tarnished by corruption affairs and allegations of buying votes, and he was convicted of tax fraud in 2017. Mediapart's Yann Philippin, who has spent many years reporting on the 'Dassault method', reports.
The trial of the former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac for tax fraud and money laundering opened in Paris on Monday, the same day that it was revealed that French prosecutors want former president Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial for “illegal financing” of his 2012 election campaign. Mediapart investigative reporter Fabrice Arfi says that such high-profile cases give us an insight into the ethics of public life in France. He argues that rather than simply looking the other way, the country needs to own up to the shameful nature of the situation.
Serge Dassault, the head of the aviation and defence group that bears his name, a right-wing senator and France's sixth richest person, is accused of laundering the proceeds of tax fraud and of hiding part of his wealth from Parliamentary authorities. The trial, which started on Monday July 4th, focuses on cash hidden in offshore accounts which was allegedly later used to buy votes in the town near Paris where Dassault was mayor. As Yann Philippin reports, the origins of some of these accounts goes back to the days of Serge Dassault's father Marcel, who founded the aviation group.
On Wednesday May 18th Younès Bounouara was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of trying to kill a man whose secret recording helped expose alleged vote buying by industrialist Serge Dassault in the town where the latter was mayor for many years. The verdict will come as a major embarrassment for Dassault, who has had close ties with Bounouara for more than 20 years. The two men are currently under investigation over the alleged system of vote buying. Yann Philippin reports.
French senator and billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault is at the centre of a judicial investigation into suspected electoral fraud in which cash payments were made to voters to buy his election as mayor of a suburban town south of Paris, and also that of his designated successor. In 2013, Mediapart published a secretly-taped video in which the conservative politician and businessman, owner of daily Le Figaro and who has been stripped of his parliamentary immunity, admitted to handing out cash to voters in Corbeil-Essonnes. Now a new book by two French journalists, entitled Dassault Système, details the history of the scandal, and in the extracts published here by Mediapart, reveals how police reports providing evidence of the scam were intriguingly shelved.
On Wednesday February 25th, lawyers representing the French billionaire and senator Serge Dassault announced they were withdrawing an appeal against a ruling that Mediapart had been justified in publishing details of secretly-made tape recordings involving the industrialist. In those recordings Dassault, who also owns a newspaper group, appears to confess to handing out large sums of cash to ensure his preferred candidate won an election. As Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel points out, not only is Dassault's decision to stop the appeal a victory for press freedom in France, the outcome also makes a mockery of the decision by another court to ban Mediapart from using any content from the tapes at the heart of the Bettencourt affair.
The right-wing senator and billionaire Serge Dassault is at the centre of claims that he paid out millions of euros to buy votes when he was mayor of a town near Paris. Two independent judges investigating the affair want Dassault's parliamentary immunity as a senator to be lifted so they can probe deeper and if necessary detain the 88-year-old industrialist for questioning. But on Wednesday members of a Senate committee voted narrowly for their colleague to keep his immunity. This is despite the fact the two judges produced a dossier of the case against Dassault, including details of a Lebanese bank account allegedly used to channel 3 million euros to buy votes. Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg, Mathilde Mathieu and Pascale Pascariello report on the political and judicial fallout of an extraordinary vote by a Senate committee with a left-wing majority.
by Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg, Mathilde Mathieu and Pascale Pascariello