Investigations

  • 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.

  • How three top French companies avoided €141 million in taxes in Malta

    By
    Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, one of the French groups using a legal tax avoidance set-up in Malta. © Reuters Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, one of the French groups using a legal tax avoidance set-up in Malta. © Reuters

    Three major French firms, carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën plus retailer Auchan, have set up insurance companies in Malta to save themselves from paying tens of millions of euros in taxes in France. The revelation comes from Malta Files, a four-month investigation by Mediapart and its partners in the European Investigative Collaborations journalistic collective (EIC) into one of Europe's lesser-known tax havens. Although what the three firms are doing is legal, the two car firms are successfully avoiding paying tax to the French state even though it is a major shareholder in each of them. Yann Philippin reports.

  • How Assad regime built chemical arsenal with aid of Germany and other countries

    By

    Russia, Armenia and the former West Germany were all major suppliers of technology and raw materials for Syria's programme of chemical weapon production, exiled Syrians who worked on the project have told Mediapart. They also say that, in violation of intentional law, the Damascus regime still has a secret arsenal of up to 35 tonnes of chemical weapons. René Backmann reports.

  • Revealed: Assad regime's plan to use chemical weapons against opposition in 2009

    By
    Sarin production site at Al Dumayr in Syria which was partially destroyed by the United Nations. Sarin production site at Al Dumayr in Syria which was partially destroyed by the United Nations.

    Exiled Syrian scientists have told Mediapart that the Damascus regime drew up plans to use chemical weapons against internal opposition two years before the start of the current civil war in 2011. The scientists, who were involved in the making of the weapons but who defected after misgivings about its use inside the country, say the country's president Bashar al-Assad had become unnerved by protests in Iran in 2009 and the regime had ordered seven military basses to be made ready to store chemical weapons – including sarin gas. René Backmann reports.

  • The secret story behind Macron's campaign fundraising

    Emmanuel Macron in May 2016. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron in May 2016. © Reuters

    In order to finance his election campaign, Emmanuel Macron succeeded in raising almost 13 million euros in what was a remarkable achievement for his maverick centrist political movement En Marche ! created barely one year before his election as president. But contrary to the image put about by his campaign team that it was the result of a spontaneous surge of popular support, the funds were primarily sourced from a powerful network of bankers, financiers and businessmen, as information gathered from the massive leak of hacked En Marche ! internal documents and verified by Mediapart reveals.

  • Probe into Libyan funding of Sarkozy follows trail of cash

    Éric Woerth (centre) treasurer of the 2007 presidential election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy (right). © Reuters Éric Woerth (centre) treasurer of the 2007 presidential election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy (right). © Reuters

    A French judicial investigation into the suspected illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, opened after evidence of Tripoli’s agreement to make the payment was published by Mediapart, has in recent weeks stepped up questioning of suspects and witnesses in the case who have confirmed the abundant use of cash sums to pay campaign staff. Several former managers and secretaries of the campaign were placed in custody and questioned by police who also carried out searches of their homes. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Mathilde Mathieu report.

  • When Paris and Brussels attacks suspect went on 'reconnaissance' mission to Manchester

    By
    Islamic State operative Mohamed Abrini (centre). © DR Islamic State operative Mohamed Abrini (centre). © DR

    Responsibility for the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday night, in which 22 people were killed and another 52 were injured, has been claimed by the Islamic State group. One of the Belgium-based IS cell that carried out the November 2015 attacks in Paris and the March 2016 bombings in Brussels travelled to Britain in July 2015, where he visited and photographed locations in Birmingham and Manchester, including a railway station and the Manchester United stadium Old Trafford. Matthieu Suc reports.