Investigations

  • Sarkozy-Libya funding probe: judges investigating witness tampering denounce ‘case of major gravity’

    Michèle Marchand and (clockwise from left) Hervé Gattegno, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog. © Photo Illustration Simon Toupet /Mediapart avec AFP Michèle Marchand and (clockwise from left) Hervé Gattegno, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog. © Photo Illustration Simon Toupet /Mediapart avec AFP

    Documents to which Mediapart has obtained access reveal evidence suggesting how a witness tampering plot was mounted to discredit the case against former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a judicial investigation into the alleged funding of his 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. According to judges investigating the alleged plot, it was “aimed at influencing the statements of a witness and to mislead, even to publicly discredit, the examining magistrates in charge of a case of particular sensitivity”. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • 'Rafale Papers': France opens judicial probe into fighter deal with India, new revelations emerge

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    French armed forces minister Florence Parly with Reliance Group owner and chairman Anil Ambani (centre) and Éric Trappier (left), during the inauguration of the joint venture plant in Nagpur, October 27th 2017. © Money Sharma / AFP French armed forces minister Florence Parly with Reliance Group owner and chairman Anil Ambani (centre) and Éric Trappier (left), during the inauguration of the joint venture plant in Nagpur, October 27th 2017. © Money Sharma / AFP

    A judicial probe into suspected corruption has been opened in France over the 7.8-billion-euro sale to India in 2016 of 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter aircraft. In this latest of a series of investigations about the secret dealings behind the contract, Mediapart reveals how Dassault provided a remarkably generous financial gift to its local industrial partner Reliance Group, owned by Anil Ambani, a close friend of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  • Sarkozy-Libyan funding case: the bizarre inside story of attempted manipulation

    Nicolas Sarkozy on the news bulletin of TF1 television station, March 3rd 2021. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy on the news bulletin of TF1 television station, March 3rd 2021. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP

    In November 2020 Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the judicial investigation into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign, retracted his evidence. The apparent volte-face by a man who had previously said Nicolas Sarkozy had been corrupted by Libyan money in the affair was seized on by the former president's supporters as a turning point in the lengthy judicial saga. But Takieddine's retraction was not a genuine one. New legal documents seen by Mediapart – who originally broke the story of the alleged funding scandal - show the scale of the media manipulation used to help Nicolas Sarkozy. The former president's role in this is now at the heart of this part of the investigation. So, too, is the role played by the so-called 'queen of the paparazzi' Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand who is currently in custody in connection with the case. She has told detectives that her role in the affair was to: “Kill Mediapart”.  Fabrice ArfiKarl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

     

  • Sarkozy-Libya funding affair: paparazzi boss Michèle Marchand detained over alleged bail breach

    'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP 'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP

    French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians and confidante of presidents, has been taken into custody for breaching bail conditions. Earlier in June Marchand, nicknamed 'Mimi', was placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in relation to an aspect of the long-running investigation into suspected Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign. But she was subsequently released on bail. However, Mediapart has learnt from several sources that she was taken into detention on Friday June 18th for apparently breaching a condition of that bail. Fabrice ArfiKarl LaskeYann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

  • French paparazzi agency boss under investigation for witness tampering in Sarkozy-Libya funding affair

    Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP

    French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians, was on Saturday placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy. The move relates to the public retraction by a key witness of part of his previous testimony to a judicial probe that Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was funded by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • Rafale Papers: when Dassault middleman engaged a former Indian lieutenant general

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    Sushen Gupta, the Indian business intermediary paid several million euros for his role in helping French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation conclude its sale to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets, provided remunerations to a former high-ranking Indian army officer and his daughter via offshore companies, involving questionable services and invoices. The retired officer and his daughter insist nothing illegal took place. Yann Philippin reports.   

  • Paris train and bus operator RATP accused over handling of sexual violence cases

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    Some of the staff or former staff at RATP have spoken on Mediapart's 'À l’air libre' programme. © Mediapart Some of the staff or former staff at RATP have spoken on Mediapart's 'À l’air libre' programme. © Mediapart

    The huge public transport operator for the Paris region, Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens, better known by its initials RATP, faces claims over the way it handles allegations of sexual and sexist violence against its female staff. Pregnant employees say they have been badly treated, some women say that perpetrators of sexual violence against them have gone unpunished, while others say that the transport operator's internal procedures dealing with such allegations are not sufficiently clear. Célia Mebroukine investigates the allegations involving the world’s fourth largest public transport operator.

  • The rise of a new terrorist threat in France: the ultra-right

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    A screengrab showing the ultra-right group Les Barjols. © Document Mediapart A screengrab showing the ultra-right group Les Barjols. © Document Mediapart

    A report by prosecutors in Paris warns about the return of a terrorist threat from the ultra-right, Mediapart can reveal. Based on an analysis of seven separate investigations into allegations of terrorist conspiracies, the report details the groups' professionalism, their ability to arm themselves and the varied profiles of the activists, some of whom are highly-integrated members of society. Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.

     

  • Mahamat Mahdi Ali: the Chad rebel leader targeted by France

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    Mahdi Ali Mahamat in 2017. © Capture d’écran/Facebook Mahdi Ali Mahamat in 2017. © Capture d’écran/Facebook

    The veteran Chad leader Idriss Déby Itno, a close ally of France for many years, died in April, reportedly after being wounded on the battlefield fighting against an armed rebel group in the country. That group is the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), led by a man called Mahamat Mahdi Ali. The rebel leader has close links with France; he spent part of his life here and his family still lives in Reims, north east of Paris. He was also a member of the Socialist Party before he says he was “betrayed” by his former comrades when they were in government; he was subject to financial sanctions from the authorities in Paris over what he says are unfounded claims of links to terrorist groups. Some observers see the targeting of Mahamat Mahdi Ali as a favour by the authorities in Paris to the Déby regime, which has been a stalwart supporter of France's anti-terrorism strategy in the region. Rémi Carayol reports.

  • French commentator Éric Zemmour accused of sexual violence against women

    Journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour. © JOEL SAGET / AFP Journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour. © JOEL SAGET / AFP

    On April 24th 2021 a female councillor publicly accused French journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour of having forcibly kissed her. Mediapart has gathered the accounts of several other women who have also condemned the actions and behaviour of the journalist from Le Figaro newspaper and CNews news channel, whom some on the far-right want to be a candidate in next year's presidential election in France. When approached by Mediapart, Zemmour declined to respond to the allegations. Lénaïg Bredoux, David Perrotin and Marine Turchi report.