Investigations

  • Sarkozy-Gaddafi election funding probe closes in on Airbus payments

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    A former executive of European aerospace giant Airbus has been placed under investigation for alleged corruption, criminal conspiracy and money laundering by French magistrates probing the suspected illegal funding of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The move centres on secret payments made to a business intermediary close to the former French president. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • The growing fears over France's teenage neo-Nazis

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    'Nicolas' in one of the many images of him with guns. © Document Mediapart 'Nicolas' in one of the many images of him with guns. © Document Mediapart

    A number of ultra-right terrorism cases in France in recent years have featured teenagers, a trend that is worrying the French authorities. In many cases youngsters are being recruited by groups from forums linked to online video games. Mediapart here reveals the case of a small ultra-right group whose 16-year-old leader and two associates were recently arrested. Sébastien Bourdon and Matthieu Suc report.

  • EU probe accuses Marine Le Pen of 137,000-euro fraud of public funds

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    Marine Le Pen during an election campaign press conference in Vernon, Normandy, on April 12th. © Photo Thomas Samson / AFP Marine Le Pen during an election campaign press conference in Vernon, Normandy, on April 12th. © Photo Thomas Samson / AFP

    A report by the European Union’s anti-fraud agency OLAF, now passed on to the French public prosecution services, accuses Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate who will face Emmanuel Macron in this month’s presidential election final round, of the fraudulent misuse of 137,000 euros of public funds she received from the European Parliament when she was an MEP, Mediapart can reveal. Other individuals close to her are also accused by OLAF of defrauding the parliament. Marine Turchi and Fabrice Arfi report.

  • A question of influence: how consultants McKinsey gave free services to Macron

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    From 2015 McKinsey provided services free of charge to Emmanuel Macron. © Sebastien Calvet / Mediapart From 2015 McKinsey provided services free of charge to Emmanuel Macron. © Sebastien Calvet / Mediapart

    A report by French senators recently lambasted Emmanuel Macron's government over its awarding of contracts worth a total of up to 2.4 billion euros to outside consultancy firms, including the French arm of US firm McKinsey & Company. Now Mediapart can reveal how McKinsey pinned its hopes on Macron when he was France's economy minister, well before he announced he was standing for the presidency in 2017. The consultancy firm's strategy included providing services for the minister for free. Sarah Brethes and Antton Rouget spoke to former consultants at McKinsey who revealed the methods used to try to gain influence with the man who went on to become president of France.

  • French fears over 'another Syria' as 150 fighters head to Ukraine

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    Ukrainian fighters, including former members of the French Foreign Legion, pose with a French flag bearing the insignia of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment based at Calvi on Corsica. © Capture d'écran Telegram Ukrainian fighters, including former members of the French Foreign Legion, pose with a French flag bearing the insignia of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment based at Calvi on Corsica. © Capture d'écran Telegram

    Fighters have been arriving from all corners of the planet to help defend Ukraine itself against the Russian invasion. Mediapart has been told that these foreign fighters include around 150 from France. The authorities in Paris meanwhile worry there could be a repeat of the problems seen during the Syrian war when French fighters went to combat Bashar al-Assad's regime – and came back radicalised. Sébastien Bourdon and Matthieu Suc report.

  • The damning evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine

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    Footage from the war in Ukraine, analysed by Mediapart in this video report, shows how, since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, civilian residential areas around the country have become the systematic target of indiscriminate bombings by Russian forces, and notably with the use of cluster munitions.

  • Intensive farming: the behind-the-scenes story of a French poultry giant’s vast expansion plan

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    File photo of a giant broiler house (not part of Duc’s network) in Plougoulm, Brittany, in 2012. © Photo Fred Tanneau / AFP File photo of a giant broiler house (not part of Duc’s network) in Plougoulm, Brittany, in 2012. © Photo Fred Tanneau / AFP

    After it was taken over by Dutch group Plukon in 2017, French poultry giant Duc began a massive development of its industrial production of chickens. This involved halting its production of organic and certified chickens, a major extension of its slaughterhouse at its HQ in northern Burgundy, and the future construction of 80 giant broiler houses in the neighbouring countryside. The expansion, which mirrors industrial poultry production practices elsewhere in France and Europe, has raised concerns locally over its environmental impact, and in a number of villages opponents speak of a climate of intimidation. Amélie Poinssot reports.

  • Ex-Rwandan colonel wanted over 1994 genocide continues to reside in France despite asylum refusal

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    Left to right: an undated photo of Aloys Ntiwiragabo and on the run in France in February, 2020. © DR Left to right: an undated photo of Aloys Ntiwiragabo and on the run in France in February, 2020. © DR

    Aloys Ntiwiragabo, the former head of Rwanda’s military intelligence under the country’s extremist Hutu regime, accused of being a ringleader in the 1994 genocide that is estimated to have exterminated up to one million mostly Tutsi people in the African state, continues to reside in France despite a request by Rwanda for his extradition and the rejection of his asylum application. The case of Ntiwiragabo, suspected of “crimes against humanity”, is a further demonstration of the unofficial haven that perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide have found in France. Theo Englebert reports.

  • When billionaire Vincent Bolloré secretly shadowed an unflattering TV documentary

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    Nicolas Sarkozy, Vincent Bolloré, Ramzi Khiroun and Stéphane Sitbon. © Photo Illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Nicolas Sarkozy, Vincent Bolloré, Ramzi Khiroun and Stéphane Sitbon. © Photo Illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    French police phone taps of billionaire businessman Vincent Bolloré during a judicial investigation into suspected corrupt practises in West Africa by his family-owned industrial group, now a media and publishing empire, show how, with the help of influential PR advisor Ramzi Khiroun, he was secretly informed of the contents of an unflattering profile of him by public broadcaster France 2. They also unveil how, as the corruption probe closed in, he received crisis management advice from former French president and friend Nicolas Sarkozy. The taps are among a series of revelations in ‘Media Crash’, a documentary co-produced by Mediapart exposing the inside story of the manipulation of the French press and broadcast media by a handful of self-serving, wealthy proprietors, to be released in theatres around France, beginning on February 16th. Yann Philippin and Valentine Oberti report.

  • Inside the bloody world of Islamic State's British 'Beatles'

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    Left to right, Aine Lesley Jr Davis, El Shafee Elsheikh, Mohamed Emwazi – 'Jihadi John' – and  Alexanda Kotey, 'The Beatles' from Islamic State. © Photo montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Left to right, Aine Lesley Jr Davis, El Shafee Elsheikh, Mohamed Emwazi – 'Jihadi John' – and Alexanda Kotey, 'The Beatles' from Islamic State. © Photo montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    In the second of two articles based on interrogations by United States intelligence officials, Mediapart tells the story of the four notorious British jihadists who were to become known as 'The Beatles'. As Matthieu Suc reports, they were the first terrorists to represent to the wider world the true threat posed by Islamic State.