Investigations

  • 'Rafale Papers': how France's anti-corruption agency covered up for aviation firm Dassault

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    Chairman and chief executive officer of Dassault Aviation, Éric Tappier, in 2015. © Boris Horvat / AFP Chairman and chief executive officer of Dassault Aviation, Éric Tappier, in 2015. © Boris Horvat / AFP

    France's anti-corruption watchdog wrote a damning report after a lengthy inspection of French defence and aviation company Dassault. The report from the Agence Française Anticorruption highlighted five breaches of the law and signs of possible corruption in the firm's dealings in India, where it sold 36 Rafale fighter jets for 7.8 billion euros. Yet as Yann Philippin reports, the agency did not propose any punishment and nor did it alert French prosecutors to its findings.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy, his praise for Putin, and a trail of Kremlin money

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     © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy received 300,000 euros during a period in which he attended a 2018 gathering in Moscow that was organised by the Russian state's main sovereign wealth fund, and at which he praised his “friend” Vladimir Putin. The money was paid by a company which bears the same name as a subsidiary of that sovereign fund. Fabrice Arfi and Yann Philippin report.

  • French crypto investors file complaint against Binance over 2.4m-euro losses

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     © Document Mediapart © Document Mediapart

    A group of 15 French cryptocurrency investors have filed a legal complaint against Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which they accuse of marketing its services in France before it received official approval to do so, of using misleading commercial practices and receiving the proceeds of fraud. The complaint by the group, who claim losses of close to 2.4 million euros in transactions via the platform, is the first of its kind in France involving the highly speculative and volatile sector of digital assets. Laurent Mauduit reports.

  • Libyan diplomat faces Paris probe over operation to 'save Sarko' over election funding affair

    Hannibal Gaddafi and Nicolas Sarkozy. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Hannibal Gaddafi and Nicolas Sarkozy. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    A Libyan diplomat with links to the French secret services has been placed under investigation for the “corruption of foreign judicial personnel”. He has admitted acting as a middleman to try to obtain the release of one of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi's sons from a Beirut jail in order to serve the interests of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

     

  • The murky saga involving Qatar, French football club PSG and an alleged €100m blackmail bid

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    The lobbyist Tayeb Benabderrahmane. © LinkedIn de Tayeb Benabderrahmane. The lobbyist Tayeb Benabderrahmane. © LinkedIn de Tayeb Benabderrahmane.

    It is the latest development in a complex affair involving the French football club Paris Saint-Germain, the state of Qatar, a lobbyist, a former French intelligence agent and accusations of illicit espionage. The lobbyist in question, Franco-Algerian businessman Tayeb Benabderrahmane, was arrested and detained for several months in Doha in 2020 after having obtained confidential information belonging to the PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi. Tayeb Benabderrahmane was later able to leave Qatar after reportedly signing a secret agreement and handing over all the information he possessed. However, according to a document seen by Mediapart, the lobbyist had kept hold of some of the confidential information on the PSG boss and wanted to ask for 100 million euros from the emirate, who own PSG, in return for his silence. Tayeb Benabderrahmane, who faces separate allegations involving private and illicit investigations on behalf of the football club, denies all the claims. Yann Philippin reports.

  • Close associate of Lebanese central bank boss faces money laundering probe in Paris

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    Riad Salamé in his office at the Lebanese central bank in Beirut, December 20th 2021. © Photo Joseph Eid / AFP Riad Salamé in his office at the Lebanese central bank in Beirut, December 20th 2021. © Photo Joseph Eid / AFP

    Anna Kosakova, the  girlfriend of Riad Salamé, governor of the Banque du Liban, is suspected of having benefited from funds that were misappropriated from Lebanon's central bank. She has been placed under formal investigation by a judge in Paris for “criminal conspiracy” and “money laundering”. According to the investigation, up to to 246 million dollars were transferred to personal bank accounts belonging to the governor's brother.  In particular, judges are looking at the purchase of a number of commercial properties in central Paris which were then managed by the central banker's girlfriend. Karl Laske reports.

     

  • The troubling unofficial role of a senior French minister's partner

    Agnès Pannier-Runacher and Nicolas Bays in the Élysée courtyard during Emmanuel Macron's investiture as president on May 7th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Agnès Pannier-Runacher and Nicolas Bays in the Élysée courtyard during Emmanuel Macron's investiture as president on May 7th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    A number of officials at the Ministry for Energy Transition, which is headed by Agnès Pannier-Runacher, are said to be at the end of their tether. The minister's partner Nicolas Bays, who has no title or role there, is reported to have constantly intervened to give orders or put pressure on ministerial staff. In addition, several former Parliamentary staff have told Mediapart that they were victims of inappropriate gestures made by Nicolas Bays at the National Assembly several years ago when he was a Member of Parliament. He denies the allegations. Lénaïg Bredoux, Antton Rouget and Ellen Salvi report.

  • French pharma Sanofi: last with its Covid vaccine but top with its lobbying

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    The Sanofi factory at Val-de-Reuil in Normandy, September 5th 2022. © Lou Benoist / AFP The Sanofi factory at Val-de-Reuil in Normandy, September 5th 2022. © Lou Benoist / AFP

    The Covid-19 vaccine produced by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi has finally been approved by European regulators, well after rival products from its competitors. But while the French fgroup may have been last in getting a vaccine ready to fight the pandemic, it is a different story when it comes to lobbying. As Rozenn Le Saint reports, over the last two years Sanofi has spent more than its rivals in a bid to influence the authorities in Paris and Brussels.

  • Sarkozy-Libya: deleted messages suggest ex-president was kept informed about witness retraction

    'Mimi' Marchand during a tribute to the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo at the Hôtel des Invalides in central Paris on September 9th 2021. © Photo Romain Gaillard / REA 'Mimi' Marchand during a tribute to the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo at the Hôtel des Invalides in central Paris on September 9th 2021. © Photo Romain Gaillard / REA

    Previously-deleted digital conversations that have been retrieved by an IT expert show that well-connected Paris paparazzi boss Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand oversaw from start to finish an operation which led to the false retraction of a witness statement by Ziad Takieddine. Takieddine is a key witness in the affair that centres on claims that the Libyan regime helped fund Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. In those same messages Marchand stated that she was keeping the former president – who was given the nickname 'Zébulon' – informed in real time of events concerning the Takieddine evidence retraction saga. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • French soldiers deployed in Romania on NATO mission are 'cold' and 'hungry'

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    Photos of the living conditions experienced by French soldiers deployed at Cincu in Romania since February 2022. © Documents Mediapart Photos of the living conditions experienced by French soldiers deployed at Cincu in Romania since February 2022. © Documents Mediapart

    On November 3rd France's armed forces minister Sébastien Lecornu visited French troops who have been deployed in Romania as part of a NATO mission. However, despite the upbeat photo opportunities, some of the soldiers stationed there complain of logistical failings, a lack of food and poor living conditions. Justine Brabant reports.