Investigations

  • The MEPs shaping the Common Agricultural Policy and receiving its handouts

    By
    MEPs in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, September 16th 2020. © AFP MEPs in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, September 16th 2020. © AFP

    Among the Members of the European Parliament are a group of farmers and others with agricultural interests who benefit directly from the subsidies provided for in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The fact that many of them are at the forefront of negotiations to map out the reform of the CAP, to be put to a vote during this week, raises a clear question of conflicts of interest. Amélie Poinssot reports.

  • The online radicalisation of terrorist who decapitated teacher near Paris

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    A demonstration showing solidarity with murdered teacher Samuel Paty, held at Rennes in west France on Saturday October 17th. © Bertrand Guay/AFP A demonstration showing solidarity with murdered teacher Samuel Paty, held at Rennes in west France on Saturday October 17th. © Bertrand Guay/AFP

    A few minutes after the horrific murder of Samuel Paty near Paris, his attacker Abdoullakh Abouyezidovitch A. posted a photo of the history teacher's head on his Twitter account. Mediapart can reveal that at the end of August the 18-year-old Russian-born Chechen had also posted a photomontage of a mock decapitation. It has also emerged that several people had flagged the youth's Twitter account to the authorities in recent months. Matthieu Suc reports.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy placed under investigation for 'conspiracy' over Libyan funding claims

    By and
    Left to right: Brice Hortefeux, Claude Guéant, Thierry Gaubert, Nicolas Sarkozy, Muammar Gaddafi, Gaddafi's banker Bashir Saleh and Abdullah Senussi. © Simon Toupet / Mediapart. Photos : AFP / capture d'écran France 2. Left to right: Brice Hortefeux, Claude Guéant, Thierry Gaubert, Nicolas Sarkozy, Muammar Gaddafi, Gaddafi's banker Bashir Saleh and Abdullah Senussi. © Simon Toupet / Mediapart. Photos : AFP / capture d'écran France 2.

    The decision by judges to place the former president under formal investigation – one step short of charges being brought – relates to claims that his 2007 presidential campaign was financed in part by the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In 2018 Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation in relation to the same inquiry for “illicit funding of an electoral campaign”, “receiving and embezzling public funds” and “passive corruption”. This new move by investigating judges means that for the first time a former head of state in France formally faces claims of “criminal conspiracy”. The ex-president denies any wrongdoing. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on the latest developments in the long-running investigation.

  • Sons of former French PM face probe over hidden Swiss cash

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    Former prime minister Raymond Barre in October 2006, at a conference held by Crédit Agricole bank's national federation. © Bruno FERRANDEZ / AFP Former prime minister Raymond Barre in October 2006, at a conference held by Crédit Agricole bank's national federation. © Bruno FERRANDEZ / AFP

    The late Raymond Barre was one of the best-known prime ministers of France's Fifth Republic and was publicly lauded by a president as one of the country's best economists. He was also forever associated with austerity and budget cuts during the difficult economic years of the late 1970s and spoke of the need of French people to pay their taxes. Now his two sons, Olivier and Nicolas Barre, have been placed under formal investigation over the “laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud” as part of a probe by French prosecutors into a stash of money that was hidden in a Swiss bank account by their father. Antton Rouget reports.

  • Sexual violence and harassment at work: the allegations of McDonald's staff in France

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    The  Saint-Barthélémy McDonald’s branch at Marseille in southern France was the scene of an industrial struggle by staff against the giant multinational. On October 18th 2018 workers were protesting in front of the restaurant and were already complaining about the violence of the 'McDo' system. BORIS HORVAT / AFP The Saint-Barthélémy McDonald’s branch at Marseille in southern France was the scene of an industrial struggle by staff against the giant multinational. On October 18th 2018 workers were protesting in front of the restaurant and were already complaining about the violence of the 'McDo' system. BORIS HORVAT / AFP

    Mediapart and the website StreetPress have spent several months investigating the management of McDonald's branches in France. We have compiled a total of 78 testimonies from staff who describe a workplace in which sexist, racist and homophobic comments often feature, and even in some cases sexual assaults. The restaurant chain has been accused of turning a blind eye to the problem. It says that non-discrimination is a “cornerstone” of the chain's values. Khedidja Zerouali reports.

  • The failings of France's ambulance service during Covid crisis

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    An ambulance call centre in Paris. © AFP An ambulance call centre in Paris. © AFP

    Documents obtained by Mediapart show that during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year France's ambulance service SAMU was slow to help some patients in urgent need of treatment because it was deluged with emergency calls. This organisational problem in turn led to reduced survival chances for some patients. Health experts fear that the ambulance service has not learnt the lessons from the springtime Covid crisis and that the same problems could reoccur during a second wave of the epidemic this autumn. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • French Christian NGO's links to pro-Assad Syrian militia

    By , Elie Guckert and Frank Andrews
    SOS Chrétiens d’Orient's former head of mission Alexandre Goodarzy (in blue and topless) and its co-founder Benjamin Blanchard (in orange) posing in a Syrian house with a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov and machine guns.  © Document Mediapart SOS Chrétiens d’Orient's former head of mission Alexandre Goodarzy (in blue and topless) and its co-founder Benjamin Blanchard (in orange) posing in a Syrian house with a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov and machine guns. © Document Mediapart

    French Catholic association SOS Chrétiens d’Orient (SOS Christians of the Orient) claims to help Christians in Syria without interfering in the conflict that for nine years has been tearing the country apart. But as an investigation for Mediapart has already shown, it has forged close relations with bodies and people supporting the Damascus regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. And as this second investigation reveals, the NGO - which for several years has been a 'National Defence Partner' of France's Ministry of Armed Forces – also supports pro-Assad militia.

  • French justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti faces legal complaint over conflict of interest

    By and
    Justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, September 24th, 2020. © Alain JOCARD / AFP Justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, September 24th, 2020. © Alain JOCARD / AFP

    An anti-corruption activist has lodged a formal complaint against France's new justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, accusing the latter of an unlawful conflict of interest. The complaint has been made to the Cour de Justice de la République, a special court which deals with allegations of unlawful actions by ministers in the course of their official duties. The move follows a call by the justice minister for three prosecutors from the country's financial crimes prosecution unit to face disciplinary action. This is despite the fact that just a few weeks ago Dupond-Moretti, then a barrister, had made a formal complaint against those very same prosecutors. Fabrice Arfi and Michel Deléan report

  • French NGO 'Christians of the Orient' and its ties with the Assad regime

    By , Elie Guckert and Frank Andrews
    'Believe in Aleppo', a 2017 PR stunt in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo, organised by the Damascus authorities with the help of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient. © DR 'Believe in Aleppo', a 2017 PR stunt in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo, organised by the Damascus authorities with the help of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient. © DR

    French association SOS Chrétiens d’Orient (SOS Christians of the Orient) is a self-declared "apolitical" not-for-profit NGO, which sends volunteers and staff across the Middle East with the stated aim of supporting the region’s persecuted Christians, notably in Syria. But, as this investigation for Mediapart reveals, its links with the French far-right and its close relations with bodies and people supporting the Damascus regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad raise disturbing questions about its mission.


  • France's ambassador to Ivory Coast accused of sexual harassment

    By Michael Pauron
    Ambassador Gilles Huberson, left, with the French and Ivory Coast ministers of the interior at Abidjan in May 2019. © ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP Ambassador Gilles Huberson, left, with the French and Ivory Coast ministers of the interior at Abidjan in May 2019. © ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

    France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an internal inquiry into Gilles Huberson, ambassador to Ivory Coast, after several women accused him of sexist and sexual violence, Mediapart has learnt. Huberson, who occupies one of France's most prestigious diplomatic postings in Africa, is reported to have returned to Paris, even though Ivory Coast faces an important and potentially tense election in less than two months. Michel Pauron reports.