Investigations

  • Revealed: Lionel Messi and his father in new alleged tax scam

    By , Begoña Perez Ramírez (Infolibre) and EIC
    Lionel Messi beside his father Jorge during their trial on tax fraud charges in Barcelona in June 2016. © Reuters Lionel Messi beside his father Jorge during their trial on tax fraud charges in Barcelona in June 2016. © Reuters

    Documents obtained from the whistleblowing platform Football Leaks reveal a financial structure that Spanish tax authorities suspect was used to hide part of the remunerations paid to FC Barcelona star player Lionel Messi, already convicted of tax fraud in 2016 along with his father Jorge Messi. The documents detail how the latter received 6.7 million euros from the Catalan club via a Luxembourg bank account belonging to a shell company registered in London.

  • The French-made warships blockading Yemen's starving population

    By and
    The French-built Saudi frigate Al-Dammam 816, in May 2014. © US Navy The French-built Saudi frigate Al-Dammam 816, in May 2014. © US Navy

    Video evidence that warships sold by France to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have played an active role in the maritime blockade of Yemen, contributing to the starvation of millions of civilians in what the UN has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, has emerged in an investigation partnered by Mediapart. Meanwhile, a UN report earlier this month warned that the legality of arms exports to belligerents in the conflict in Yemen by countries including France, Britain and the US “remains questionable”, and that “states may be held responsible for providing aid or assistance for the commission of international law violations”. Antton Rouget and Yann Philippin report.

  • Result of probe into Air France Rio-Paris crash outrages victims' families

    By

    A Brazilian navy ship retrieves debris from Air France flight AF447 found on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, June 9th 2009.

    Ten years after the crash over the Atlantic Ocean of Air France flight AF447, in which all 228 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus 330 were killed, the French judicial investigation into the events has finally closed, without charges. The magistrates in charge of the probe have controversially exonerated the airline and Airbus of any responsibility for the disaster, which it instead placed firmly on the flight crew. The September 5th ruling has outraged relatives of the victims, who have accused the investigation of buckling before “the aeronautical lobby”, and who have now lodged an appeal to re-open the investigation. Mediapart has obtained access to the case file which, as Yann Philippin reports, contains numerous elements which contradict the magistrates’ findings.

  • 'Corrupt' electoral system of late French billionaire Serge Dassault to go on trial

    By
    Serge Dassault in 2016. © Reuters Serge Dassault in 2016. © Reuters

    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.

  • Truth behind former Macron minister's summer media campaign to clear his name

    Ex-minister François de Rugy seeks to clear his name on BFM TV, July 29th 2019. © DR Ex-minister François de Rugy seeks to clear his name on BFM TV, July 29th 2019. © DR

    A string of revelations from Mediapart about his lifestyle and use of public money led to the resignation of François de Rugy, environment minister and number two in the French government, on July 16th 2019. Since then the former minister has been on a PR offensive, helped by friends in the media, seeking to prove that his name has subsequently been “cleared” and that Mediapart's revelations had been “refuted”. This is obviously untrue. Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi look back over the facts of the case.

  • Sarkozy-Libya affair: judges probe key middleman's network of influence

    By
    Middleman Alexandre Djouhri in London, where he is fighting against extradition to France. Middleman Alexandre Djouhri in London, where he is fighting against extradition to France.

    French detectives and judges investigating the financial links between former President Nicolas Sarkozy's entourage and the Libyan regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi are making progress in relation to a key figure in the affair. He is businessman Alexandre Djouhri, currently living in London, whom French judges are trying to extradite for questioning. His right-hand man, banker Wahib Nacer, was placed under formal investigation in the affair earlier this year. Fabrice Arfi reports on the latest judicial developments that are causing concern for the Sarkozy clan.

  • Corruption case whips up storm for ailing French maritime group Bourbon

    By
    Rough times ahead: a vessel from Bourbon's almost 500-strong fleet serving the oil and gas industry. © Bourbon Offshore Rough times ahead: a vessel from Bourbon's almost 500-strong fleet serving the oil and gas industry. © Bourbon Offshore

    French group Bourbon, a leading player in the field of maritime services and engineering support for the offshore oil and gas extraction industry which employs more than 8,000 people worldwide, is facing dire straits. Weighed down by heavy debts, its holding company was this month placed into receivership, while the group and members of its senior management have been sent for trial on charges of corrupting tax officials in Africa. Meanwhile, French junior minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who until joining government last October sat on the Bourbon board and presided over its audit committee, denies any responsibility in the group’s current woes. Antton Rouget reports.

  • Jeffrey Epstein and his French connection

    By and Laureen Ortiz
    A rare image of Jean-Luc Brunel, filmed by CBS in 1988. A rare image of Jean-Luc Brunel, filmed by CBS in 1988.

    The unravelling affairs of wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in a New York City prison on Saturday, have now crossed the Atlantic to France, where government ministers this week called for an investigation to ‘shed light’ on suspicions that the country also served as a base for his alleged sexual exploitation of underaged girls. In Paris, where Epstein owned a luxury apartment, prosecution services are conducting ‘verifications’ over the allegations. Meanwhile, veteran French model scout Jean-Luc Brunel is accused by one of Epstein’s victims of active complicity in the convicted sex offender’s alleged orgies with minors.

  • Revealed: former environment minister's fondness for ministerial cars

    François de Rugy, the environment minister and number two in the government who quit on Tuesday July 16th after revelations about his lifestyle and use of public money, employed ministerial chauffeur-driven cars for his own personal use, Mediapart can reveal. Several former government ministers have raised questions over de Rugy's apparently excessive use of such vehicles. Michel Deléan, Michaël Hajdenberg, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

  • French minister François de Rugy quits after revelations about lifestyle and expenses

    Environment minister François de Rugy has resigned from the government. © Reuters Environment minister François de Rugy has resigned from the government. © Reuters

    François de Rugy, the environment minister and number two in President Emmanuel Macron's government behind prime minister Édouard Philippe, resigned on Tuesday 16 July following a string of revelations by Mediapart about his lifestyle as a minister, including grand dinners paid for out of the public purse. De Rugy quit just as Mediapart was about to make fresh revelations about his use of expenses as an MP. Michaël Hajdenberg, Antton Rouget and Fabrice Arfi report.