Vincent Crase

Moscow man: the key role of a French intermediary in Benalla security aide affair

France — Investigation

In the unfolding saga of the Benalla affair, which involves President Emmanuel Macron's sacked security aide Alexandre Benalla, one man played a key role in the shadows. He is French middleman Jean-Louis Haguenauer, the man behind the Russia security contract negotiated by Benalla while the latter was still working as a key aide at the Élysée. Mediapart can reveal how over a period of 30 years Haguenauer cultivated a network of contacts in Russia, including close links with the Russian secret services. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

Macron security aide affair: Mediapart responds to its critics


Mediapart is not a back-room intelligence agency but a news-gathering organization. We do not spy on anyone nor do we install secret microphones, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel. We are content with revealing information in the public interest while respecting press laws. That is true in the current affair involving President Emmanuel Macron's security aide Alexandre Benalla just as it was in the earlier Bettencourt, Sarkozy-Gaddafi and Cahuzac affairs, he says.

New revelations on Macron aide's oligarch deals worth 2.2m euros

International — Investigation

Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, who also served as deputy to the president’s inner cabinet chief, organised from the Élysée Palace a private deal to provide protection services to a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin and who is suspected of ties to Russian organised crime. Benalla, who was initially dismissed from his post after assaulting people on the sidelines of a May Day march, last December also sold protection services to another Russian billionaire. The total of the two deals is worth 2.2 million euros, part of which was paid to Benalla in Morocco, Mediapart can reveal in this latest investigation into the growing scandal which, it is speculated, may be linked to the resignation announced this week of Macron’s most senior advisor, Ismaël Emelien.

Probe launched into Russian oligarch contract linked to Élysée security aide

France — Investigation

France's national fraud prosecution unit has opened an investigation for “corruption” over a French firm's security contract signed with Russian oligarch Iskander Makhmudov, and negotiated by Alexandre Benalla while the latter was a security aide at the Élysée. Mediapart first revealed details of this contract, which involves a company run by Benalla's friend Vincent Crase, back in December. In a separate development the French prime minister's head of security has resigned after claims that her flat was used to host a bail-breaching meeting between Benalla and Crase that was secretly recorded in July 2018. She denies any wrong doing. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

How French PM's office sparked probe into Mediapart's sources in security aide affair

France — Investigation

It was an intervention from the office of France's prime minister Édouard Philippe which caused the opening of an investigation into the source of secret recordings involving a former presidential aide, Mediapart can reveal. This investigation then led to an attempt by prosecutors to search Mediapart's office – which Mediapart prevented, citing laws designed to protect its sources. The prosecution authorities, meanwhile, are remaining silent about the information they received which caused them to start the probe. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget, Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.

Mediapart blocks prosecutors' bid to search offices over Macron security aide affair


Mediapart refused a highly unusual attempt by prosecutors in Paris on Monday morning to search its editorial offices as part of an  investigation that notably cites a breach of the personal privacy of Alexandre Benalla, the disgraced controversial former security aide to President Emmanuel Macron. He was sacked and placed under formal investigation last summer after video footage emerged of him and ruling LREM party security manager Vincent Crase using violence on protestors during demonstrations in Paris on May 1st. The new prosecution services’ probe follows Mediapart's revelations last week of extracts from a compromising conversation between Benalla and Crase, who met in violation of their conditional bail, which raise wider questions over Benalla’s actions while employed by the presidency, and also his relationship with the president. Mediapart exercised its legal right to refuse the raid on the grounds of protecting the identity of its sources.

Macron security aide affair: the secret recordings that change everything

France — Investigation

An investigation by Mediapart sheds dramatic new light on the affair involving Alexandre Benalla, who was a security aide to President Emmanuel Macron until he was sacked when video footage emerged showing that he had used violence against protestors at a demonstration. In particular recordings of Benalla talking to the former head of security for the ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, who also lost his job over the scandal, reveal details about a secret meeting that breached a judicial control order, about a security contract with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and Benalla's ongoing communications with President Macron. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

Russian link to key figure in Macron security advisor scandal

France — Investigation

An oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and suspected by several European judges of being linked to the Russian mafia, paid money to the company of a key figure in the scandal involving President Emmanuel Macron's former security advisor Alexandre Benalla. A payment of almost 300,000 euros was made to the company of gendarme reservist Vincent Crase in June 2018, at a time when the latter was still employed by the French president's party La République en Marche as the deputy 'security and safety' manager. Crase was with Alexandre Benalla when Macron's security advisor was caught on video using violence against demonstrators on May 1st 2018 in a scandal that rocked the French presidency over the summer. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget, Marine Turchi and Anastasia Kirilenko report.

How Macron's security aide produced gun for a selfie during election campaign

France — Investigation

The incident took place on the night of April 28th, 2017, after an election rally by Emmanuel Macron. Alexandre Benalla – who has now lost his job as the president's security aide – posed for a selfie in a restaurant. In it he is shown holding his gun. The problem for Benalla, however, is that at the time he was not authorised to carry a firearm. The prosecution authorities have now announced a preliminary investigation into the matter. Christophe Gueugneau and Antton Rouget report.

Why the buck stops with Macron over Benalla scandal

France — Opinion

Without Emmanuel Macron there would have been no Alexandre Benalla at the Élysée; for the man who dressed with police insignia and assaulted demonstrators owes everything to the president. But, equally, there would be no Benalla scandal without the support given by the president of the Republic to his trusted aide. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel says that it is this protection, even lying, that makes this scandal an affair of state.

New video shows Macron aide and associate illegally 'policing' May Day crowds

France — Investigation

French President Emmanuel Macron’s security aide Alexandre Benalla, together with an employee of Macron’s ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, were involved on May 1st in other incidents before they assaulted a man among May Day crowds at a square in the Latin Quarter of Paris. In a new video obtained by Mediapart, the two men, officially present alongside police as civilian “observers” of crowd-control operations that day, can be seen heavy-handedly joining in the arrest of a man at a public park. The new evidence of their violent and illegal behaviour that day further deepens the scandal of a suspected cover-up of their actions by the presidential office and senior police hierarchy.

Macron thug-and-aide scandal deepens with cover-up claims

France — Investigation

President Emmanuel Macron was this weekend mired the gravest crisis since he came to office little more than a year ago, after further revelations about the events when his personal security advisor physically assaulted May Day demonstrators while dressed as a police officer, and growing evidence that his extraordinary behaviour was covered up by the Élysée Palace and the interior ministry. Both Macron and his interior minister Gérard Collomb were reportedly made aware more than two months ago of the thuggish behaviour of the president’s personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla, who was only finally dismissed from his post on Friday when he was taken into police custody two days after the scandal was first revealed by the media.