Investigations

  • How Tokyo 'bought' the 2020 Olympic Games

    By and
    The December 2019 inauguration ceremony for the New National Stadium in Tokyo which will be used for the 2020 Games. © Reuters The December 2019 inauguration ceremony for the New National Stadium in Tokyo which will be used for the 2020 Games. © Reuters

    Documents obtained by French investigating judges show how the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, “coordinated” the votes of African members of the International Olympic Committee in 2013 to help ensure Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Games. Meanwhile just before and after the vote, an offshore company linked to Diack's son received a total of 2.3 million dollars from the Japanese bid committee. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

  • French football authorities fail to get onside to help young migrants integrate

    By Mickaël Correia
    The migrant football association L'Équipe sans Frontières, at the end of a training session at Bobigny, north-east of Paris. © CC The migrant football association L'Équipe sans Frontières, at the end of a training session at Bobigny, north-east of Paris. © CC

    In the Paris region, western France and the French Alps, local initiatives are springing up to help young migrants, many of them unaccompanied minors, to get involved in football to help them integrate and find their feet in their new country. These projects are similar to a much-larger initiative that began in Germany in 2015 when that country took in nearly one million refugees. But as Mickaël Correia reports, the sport's ruling body in France - the French Football Federation - is doing nothing to help the process.

  • Story behind ex-Renault boss Carlos Ghosn's decision to flee Japan for Lebanon

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    Carlos Ghosn on October 6th, 2017 © Reuters Carlos Ghosn on October 6th, 2017 © Reuters

    The former Renault chairman and CEO, Carlos Ghosn, has travelled to Lebanon having fled from Japan where he was on bail facing charges of alleged financial wrongdoing. Ghosn, who was also chairman of Renault's Japanese partner Nissan, and who has always claimed his innocence, immediately justified the extraordinary move by saying he no longer wanted to be “held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed”. From the start of the affair Ghosn has claimed he is the victim of a plot, while largely avoiding details of the allegations against him. Mediapart's Matthieu Suc, author of a recent book on Renault, reports.

  • Documents place SocGen execs in question over Libyan corruption scam

    By
    The SocGen operation involved officials of the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters. The SocGen operation involved officials of the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters.

    Giant French banking group Société Générale has admitted corrupting Libyan officials under the regime of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi to gain contracts worth more than 2 billion dollars. The scam involved paying vast secret commissions to a businessman intermediary via his offshore company based in Panama. In a 2017 statement recognising its role, the bank said that it “wishes to place on record its regret about the lack of caution of some of its employees”, but documents now obtained by Mediapart suggest the operation may have been validated at the highest level of the group’s management. Fabrice Arfi reports.

  • Net closes around Corsican clans suspected of EU subsidies fraud

    By
    Cash cow: the Corsicana cattle breed native to Corsica. © Wikipédia Cash cow: the Corsicana cattle breed native to Corsica. © Wikipédia

    The French Mediterranean island of Corsica is the focus of a series of investigations into the suspected mass fraud of European Union agricultural subsidies. One of the alleged methods of the fraud is the fictitious declaration of swathes of scrubland as pasture land for cattle farmers. The sums involved are vast, and those suspected of the scam include some closely related to the island’s notorious and feared underworld gangs. Hélène Constanty reports.

  • Unions attack lack of safety measures after suicides at France's national library

    By
    The iconic national library building in Paris. The iconic national library building in Paris.

    In the last ten years at least seven people have killed themselves by jumping from the terraces or plaza of a site at France's national library, the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand in Paris. Meanwhile on December 8th this year a girl fell from the iconic building and is now in a critical condition. Trade unions representing staff at the library say that not enough work has been done to make the site safe. Meanwhile management suggests such measures might be “ineffective” and say they also have to consider keeping the building's “architectural integrity”. Mathilde Goanec reports.

  • French judge accused of 'harassing' clerks and mocking defendants in court

    By

    A senior judge at Versailles, west of Paris, has been accused of harassing clerks of the court and mocking both defendants and victims in her court, Mediapart has learnt. However, despite a lengthy letter of complaint from the clerks' trade union, the judge's bosses have just given her a warning about her future conduct. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports.

  • Judge-led French probe starts into award of 2022 football World Cup to Qatar

    By and
    Michel Platini and Nicolas Sarkozy at the Parc des Princes football stadium  in Paris for a PSG match on February 17th 2015. © Reuters Michel Platini and Nicolas Sarkozy at the Parc des Princes football stadium in Paris for a PSG match on February 17th 2015. © Reuters

    In June 2019 Michel Platini, the former head of European football's governing body UEFA, was interviewed by police as a witness over the circumstances of the award of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar. Two former colleagues of Nicolas Sarkozy were also questioned about a lunch hosted for Qatar's crown prince by the French president in 2010, attended by Platini, just days before the controversial vote to give the tournament to the oil and gas-rich state. Now the French financial crimes prosecution unit has launched a judicial investigation into the affair over alleged “corruption”, Mediapart has learnt. Former French football star Platini has strongly denied any wrongdoing. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

  • Revealed: Sarkozy aide received Libyan funds in secret offshore account

    By and
    Left to right: newly elected Nicolas Sarkozy hosts Muammar Gaddafi in Paris; French-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine; Niolas Sarkozy's close allies Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Reuters/Document Mediapart Left to right: newly elected Nicolas Sarkozy hosts Muammar Gaddafi in Paris; French-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine; Niolas Sarkozy's close allies Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Reuters/Document Mediapart

    An investigation by Mediapart has confirmed that a longstanding close aide to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy received 440,000 euros in a secret offshore account paid from Libyan funds one year before the 2007 French presidential elections, casting further suspicion that Sarkozy’s successful bid was partly financed by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The money was transferred by a shell company belonging to a French-Lebanese intermediary who is central to the funding allegations, through which transited several millions of euros from the Tripoli regime. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Chelsea star Kanté in ‘sack your agent or he’ll be killed’ claim

    By and
    N’Golo Kanté after France beat Uruguay in the quarter finals on their way to winning the World Cup in Russia in 2018. © Reuters N’Golo Kanté after France beat Uruguay in the quarter finals on their way to winning the World Cup in Russia in 2018. © Reuters

    In a recording obtained by Mediapart, an advisor to Chelsea star N'Golo Kanté admits putting pressure on the World Cup-winning French international footballer in 2017 over a dispute involving the sharing out of commissions linked to the player's move from Leicester City to the London club. The advisor says that his brother, who was also present, “perhaps” had a “gun” on him at the time of the discussion, in which deaths threats were allegedly made in relation to Kanté's agent. Yann Philippin and Matthieu Suc investigate a popular French player who has been the subject of a merciless fight between members of his entourage, a battle involving huge sums of money and offshore companies in Jersey.