Investigations

  • How football superstar Ronaldo placed trust in Jersey

    By , Rafael Buschmann, Michael Wulzinger and Nicola Naber (Der Spiegel)
    Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a decisive goal on April 11th that sent his club into the semi-finals of the European Chamions League. © Reuters Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a decisive goal on April 11th that sent his club into the semi-finals of the European Chamions League. © Reuters

    Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo, currently under investigation in Spain, where he resides, over his alleged wilful evasion of 14.7 million euros in tax payments between 2011 and 2014, created a trust in Jersey in 2015 from which millions of euros were transferred to a subsidiary in Luxembourg and which did not appear in his 2015 tax declaration, according to confidential documents analysed by Mediapart and its partners in the journalistic consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). The trust was abruptly wound down last week, just 24 hours after the EIC contacted the footballer and his agent for comment on the documents.

  • German intelligence document reports Iraq approved funding of Mitterrand campaign

    By
    François Mitterrand in 1974. François Mitterrand in 1974.

    In 1974, the Ba’ath party regime in power in Iraq approved a payment of 1 million dollars to fund the presidential election campaign that year of the late French socialist leader François Mitterrand, according to a document from the intelligence services of the former West Germany, the BND, obtained by Mediapart and German weekly Der Spiegel. The document refers to an intercepted message sent by Baghdad to its embassy in Paris. While it is not known whether Mitterrand’s campaign ever benefited from the reportedly earmarked funds, the BND document raises further questions about the extent of Iraq’s established close and secret relations with French political parties of Left and Right over several decades. Amélie Poinssot reports.

  • Inside the 'fortress' camp for Vietnamese migrants heading to UK cannabis farms

    By Elisa Perrigueur
    The camp dubbed 'Vietnam City' at Angres, 100 kilometres from Calais. © Elisa Perrigueur The camp dubbed 'Vietnam City' at Angres, 100 kilometres from Calais. © Elisa Perrigueur

    Each year many Vietnamese migrants arrive in France after trekking across Europe in their long and arduous bid to get to the United Kingdom. For hundreds of them the last stop before their attempt to cross the English Channel is a discreet camp at Angres one hundred kilometres from the Port of Calais and which is known locally as 'Vietnam City'. The camp is controlled by traffickers, who are fiercely protective of their 'prime location' next to the main motorway to the Channel and next to a service station where UK-bound lorries park. But as Elisa Perrigueur reports, even if the Vietnamese migrants do make it to Britain, many will find themselves working as modern day slaves on illegal cannabis farms.

  • The evidence of how Nicolas Sarkozy served Gaddafi regime's interests

    By and
    Standingtogether: Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. © Reuters Standingtogether: Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. © Reuters

    Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been placed under formal investigation for corruption over Libyan funding of his election campaign, has denied claims that he took money as part of a corrupt arrangement with Muammar Gaddafi's regime. He has also sought to rubbish accusations that as part of a corrupt pact he helped further the cause of Libya and some of its key figures. But here Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail the evidence showing that the former head of state did indeed serve the interests of Gaddafi's dictatorial regime.

  • Singer Charles Aznavour's complex legal set-up to reduce his French tax bill

    By
    Charles Aznavour in Hollywood on August 24th, 2017, as his star is unveiled on the 'Walk of Fame'. © Reuters Charles Aznavour in Hollywood on August 24th, 2017, as his star is unveiled on the 'Walk of Fame'. © Reuters

    In 2007 the famous French singer Charles Aznavour set up a holding company in Luxembourg to receive the dividends he gets from French companies that handle his royalties. More recently members of his family also became involved in this perfectly legal set-up. The result is that this veteran French entertainer, who is resident in Switzerland, and some of his family now pay little tax in France on the proceeds from his music. Romaric Godin reports.

  • Interpol's controversial funding by Qatar and the IOC

    By Mathieu Martinière et Robert Schmidt (We Report)

    The international police body Interpol severed all links with football's governing organisation FIFA after the latter's corruption scandal erupted in 2015. But it has maintained partnerships with both the committee organising the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who are at the centre of corruption investigations. This is despite the fact that leading police officers from across Europe tried to alert Interpol over these potentially dangerous links. Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt from the independent journalistic collective We Report investigate.

  • Sarkozy and Libya: how UN resolution was hijacked

    By
    Aftermath of the French and allied intervention in Libya: Benghazi in March 2018. © Reuters Aftermath of the French and allied intervention in Libya: Benghazi in March 2018. © Reuters

    The role of President Nicolas Sarkozy in the military intervention in Libya in 2011 that led to the removal from power and death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 continues to raise many unanswered questions. The original United Nations mandate that Sarkozy and certain other leaders obtained was subsequently hijacked and use to change the regime. As a result the country was left in chaos, helping to empower jihadist groups across various African countries who are still suffering instability as a result. President Emmanuel Macron considers the intervention to have been a “major error”. But is he ready to identify those responsible for it? René Backman reports.

  • Exclusive: what Sarkozy told police under questioning about Gaddafi funding evidence

    By and
    December 10th 2007: Nicolas Sarkozy welcomes Libtyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi on his first official visit to France. © Reuters December 10th 2007: Nicolas Sarkozy welcomes Libtyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi on his first official visit to France. © Reuters

    Mediapart has obtained access to extracts of the transcripts of the questioning last week of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy by officers of France’s anti-corruption police agency, OCLCIFF, and also by the magistrates in charge of their investigation into the suspected financing of his 2007 presidential election campaign by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. They reveal how Sarkozy, who after more than 30 hours of questioning was placed under investigation on March 21st for “illicit funding of an electoral campaign”, “receiving and embezzling public funds” from Libya, and “passive corruption”, was unable to provide convincing answers on a number of key questions, and how also he appeared to place responsibility for some of the most compromising evidence of collusion with Gaddafi’s regime on his close staff, including lifelong allies and friends Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux. Fabrice Arfi and Karle Laske report.

  • How French luxury goods group Kering dodged 2.5bn euros in tax

    By and Vittorio Malagutti (L'Espresso) et Esther Rosenberg (NRC Handelsblad)
    Kering group chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault. © Reuters Kering group chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault. © Reuters

    Since 2002, French luxury goods and clothing group Kering, whose brands include Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga, has avoided paying a total of about 2.5 billion euros in tax payments on earnings, mostly to the detriment of the Italian public purse but also that in France and in Britain, according to confidential documents obtained by Mediapart and analysed together with its media partners in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) journalistic consortium. Yann Philippin (Mediapart), Vittorio Malagutti (L'Espresso) et Esther Rosenberg (NRC Handelsblad) report.

  • France's plans to deal with Islamic State's 'child assassins'

    By
    Image from an Islamic State propaganda video broadcast in December 2016. © DR Image from an Islamic State propaganda video broadcast in December 2016. © DR

    A jihadist from Toulouse in south-west France who fought in Syria has claimed that Islamic State has been planning attacks to be carried out by children in Europe. Though only one suspicious case has been found among the 70 or so minors who have returned to France from the Syria and Iraq battle zones so far, the French authorities are taking the threat seriously. According to Mediapart's information, children aged as young as 13 could be placed in custody when they arrive in France from that region. Matthieu Suc reports.