Investigations

  • The covert operations behind Islamic State's terror campaign in Europe

    By
    IS jihadist Mohamed Abrini posing as a tourist during a reconnaissance mission in Britain. © DR IS jihadist Mohamed Abrini posing as a tourist during a reconnaissance mission in Britain. © DR

    This third Mediapart investigation into the workings of the Islamic State group’s secretive “Amniyat” branch – in effect its intelligence and foreign operations unit –details the often quite sophisticated, and sometimes very amateurish, methods it employs. Here Matthieu Suc charts the development of the IS terrorist operations against European countries, its preparations for the massacres of civilians in Paris and Brussels, and the reconnaissance it carried out for attacks in the Netherlands and in Britain.

  • Golden bonuses and revolving doors: behind the scenes of the Paris Olympic Games bid

    By
    Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, President Emmanuel Macron and former French Olympics gold medallist Tony Estanguet at an IOC meeting in Lausanne, July 11th.  © Reuters Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, President Emmanuel Macron and former French Olympics gold medallist Tony Estanguet at an IOC meeting in Lausanne, July 11th. © Reuters

    French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday held a party at the Elysée Palace to celebrate the International Olympic Committee’s announcement this week that Paris will host the 2024 summer Olympic Games for the first time in 100 years. But away from the celebrations at the Elysée, attended by former presidents François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, questions are raised about the financial management of the “Paris 2024” entity that led the French campaign, and the golden bonus payments that its directors are now due to pocket. Antton Rouget reports on the business behind the bid.

  • How Islamic State's secret services hunt down informers

    By
    The French sniper who was the bodyguard of chief interrogator Abu Ubaida al-Maghribi. © DR The French sniper who was the bodyguard of chief interrogator Abu Ubaida al-Maghribi. © DR

    The Islamic State employs the techniques of Western secret services to track down potential informers. This includes using CIA-inspired interrogation methods and agent provocateurs, and carrying out background checks on prisoners and new recruits from Europe. But as Matthieu Suc reports in this second article on the jihadist organisation's secret services, this does not mean they are always immune from double agents.

  • The dark world of the Islamic State group's secret services

    By
    Jihadists attending an Islamic State training course. © DR Jihadists attending an Islamic State training course. © DR

    The so-called Islamic State group (IS) last week claimed responsibility for the attacks in Spain that left 15 people dead and more than 100 injured, part of a long and murderous terror campaign it has led across Europe. Behind the terrorist operations lies a branch of the IS which acts as the jihadists’ secret services, and which has been constructed in the image of the very countries it attacks. An eight-month investigation by Mediapart reveals the history and the methods employed by this shady organization that is a pillar of the IS structure. Matthieu Suc reports.

  • The huge corruption scandal threatening Airbus

    By and
    Airbus is one of Europe's flagship industrial groups. Airbus is one of Europe's flagship industrial groups.

    The French and British investigations into alleged corruption at the European aerospace and defence group Airbus centre on claims that hundreds of millions of euros of allegedly hidden commissions were paid out as part of massive export deals. Here Mediapart reveals details of a secretive system which flourished inside the group for 15 years and which today threatens some of its most senior figures. Martine Orange and Yann Philippin investigate.

  • The mystery of French island shark attacks

    By
    Nine people have died from shark attacks on La Réunion since 2011. © Reuters Nine people have died from shark attacks on La Réunion since 2011. © Reuters

    Over the past six years a spate of shark attacks have hit the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion, leaving nine people dead and many others badly wounded. The problem, virtually unknown before 2011, has traumatised the local population, and in an effort to reduce the danger local authorities have introduced a programme of shark culling, which has outraged conservationists. In all, more than 10 million euros have been ploughed into measures including the erection of safety netting around beaches and the employment of divers to scout for predators close to resorts. But the attacks are continuing, and despite numerous scientific studies no-one knows why. Julien Sartre reports from La Réunion, where locals are anything but united on how to deal with the problem.

  • How French insurance group April used Maltese law to avoid 28 million euros in tax

    By Yann Philippin et Sylvain Morvan (Mediacités)
    malte-dossier

    Last month an investigation in which Mediapart was a partner showed how three key players in the French economy, Renault, Peugeot-Citroën and Auchan, used lax laws in Malta to reduce their tax bill in France. Now, other documents in the Malta Files investigation reveal that Groupe April, an insurance firm created by entrepreneur Bruno Rousset 30 years ago, is also using the Maltese tax loophole to avoid paying French corporate tax. Rousset has previously publicly stated that he believes his company should serve the “general interest”. Mediapart's Yann Philippin and Sylvain Morvan from investigative website Mediacités report.

  • The top cyclists in pursuit of tax havens

    By
    Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert, in lead, who had a company based in Luxembourg. © Quick step Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert, in lead, who had a company based in Luxembourg. © Quick step

    As the Tour de France gets underway, Mediapart has examined the way that key figures in the world of cycling minimise their tax payments by putting money earned from image rights into companies based in Cyprus, Switzerland or Luxembourg. Some major names such as the Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert and the French star Tony Gallopin have taken advantage of this tax route. Antton Rouget reports.

  • The Panama connection in Cristiano Ronaldo's tax affairs

    Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo denies trying to evade taxes. © Reuters Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo denies trying to evade taxes. © Reuters

    Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is threatening to leave Spain if its justice system proves too troublesome for him over his tax affairs. The Real Madrid star, who faces an investigation into alleged tax evasion, insists that he has acted in good faith and says that all his fiscal arrangements were authorised. To back this claim, he and his advisors point to the fact that the authorities in England had no problem with his fiscal set-up when he played for Manchester United. But according to new documents from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks, and revealed here by Mediapart, there are now question marks over this line of defence. Michaël Hajdenberg and Yann Philippin report.

  • Penelope Fillon: the paper-trail puzzle of 'Lady Discreet'

    By and
    Penelope Fillon. © Les Nouvelles de Sablé Penelope Fillon. © Les Nouvelles de Sablé

    Former French prime minister François Fillon’s presidential election campaign nosedived after it was alleged that over several years he fraudulently employed his British-born wife Penelope as his parliamentary assistant for which she earned almost 700,000 euros paid out of public funds. While both Fillon, who was until then the lead candidate in the election, and his wife deny the fake job accusations they are currently placed under investigation in an ongoing judicial probe. The couple insist that if there is little evidence of Penelope Fillon’s presence in parliament it is because she was active in her husband’s constituency. Mediapart has carried out a detailed search through local newspaper archives to find trace of her work, and the result offers little support for their claim. Mathilde Mathieu and Antton Rouget report.