Investigations

  • Scandal of racist and sexist language used at organisation delivering Paris Olympics

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    Nicolas Ferrand, CEO of SOLIDEO, during a presentation of a model of the Olympic village in November 2019, watched by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. © Stéphane DE SAKUTIN / AFP Nicolas Ferrand, CEO of SOLIDEO, during a presentation of a model of the Olympic village in November 2019, watched by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. © Stéphane DE SAKUTIN / AFP

    An investigation by Mediapart has revealed a pattern of anti-Roma insults, sexist behaviour and prejudice towards residents of a high-immigration area among certain staff at an organisation helping to deliver the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. After Mediapart raised the issue with management three employees at SOLIDEO – the body overseeing construction of the Games infrastructure - have been suspended and an internal inquiry has been established. Previous attempts to raise the issue internally, including the referral of complaints to the office of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo,  apparently had little effect. Jade Lindgaard and Antton Rouget report.

  • How Covid-19 caused 'historic' fall in life expectancy in France

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    The mortuary at the Bichat hospital in Paris, January 29th 2021. © Joel Saget/AFP The mortuary at the Bichat hospital in Paris, January 29th 2021. © Joel Saget/AFP

    While France last week passed the landmark official figure of 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, some have questioned the real significance of the disease on the deathrate of the elderly and the physically weak who, they bluntly argue, would have died sooner or later from other causes. Rozenn Le Saint turned to demographers for their insight into a clouded debate.

  • ‘Rafale Papers’: a video summary of a complex story

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    Beginning on April 4th, Mediapart has published a series of investigations into the circumstances of the 7.8-billion-euro sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets, which is clouded by suspicions of corruption on a large scale. In this short video with English subtitles, Yann Philippin explains the key results of Mediapart’s investigations into this most complex story.

  • 'Rafale Papers’: the explosive documents in France-India jets deal

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    Then French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (l) celebrates with Dassault CEO Dassault Aviation CEO Éric Trappier (c) the signing of the Rafale deal in September 2016. © Dassault Aviation Then French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (l) celebrates with Dassault CEO Dassault Aviation CEO Éric Trappier (c) the signing of the Rafale deal in September 2016. © Dassault Aviation

    In this final report in a three-part investigation into the controversial sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, Mediapart reveals, with hitherto unpublished documents, how an influential Indian business intermediary was secretly paid millions of euros by Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation and French defence electronics firm Thales. They succeeded in removing anti-corruption clauses from the fighter contract which was subsequently signed by then French defence minister, now foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Yann Philippin reports.

  • Rafale jets sale to India: Macron, Hollande and the blind eye of France's anti-corruption services

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    French President Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor François Hollande at the Élysée Palace in September 2017. © Julien Mattia / NurPhoto via AFP French President Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor François Hollande at the Élysée Palace in September 2017. © Julien Mattia / NurPhoto via AFP

    In this second of a three-part series of investigations into the controversial sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, Mediapart details how the then head of the French public prosecution services’ financial crimes branch, Éliane Houlette, shelved investigations into evidence of corruption behind the deal, despite the contrary opinion of her colleagues. France’s current president, Emmanuel Macron, and his predecessor, François Hollande, are cited in the allegations levelled in the case. Houlette has since justified her decision as preserving “the interests of France, the workings of institutions”. Yann Philippin reports. 

  • Sale of French Rafale jet fighters to India: how a state scandal was buried

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    French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on January 25th 2016 during a joint press conference with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and French president François Hollande. © Prakash Singh / AFP French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on January 25th 2016 during a joint press conference with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and French president François Hollande. © Prakash Singh / AFP

    In 2016 France and India signed a 7.8-billion-euro deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters made by French defence group Dassault. Mediapart can reveal that, alongside this controversial deal, Dassault also agreed to pay one million euros to a middleman who is now under investigation in India in connection with another defence deal. The French anti-corruption agency Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) discovered this separate arrangement during a routine audit of Dassault. The AFA nonetheless decided not to alert the prosecution authorities over the payment. This is the first part of Mediapart's investigation into a state scandal which also raises questions over the both the justice system and the political authorities. Yann Philippin reports.

  • The inside story of the 'ultra Left' activists arrested in France over alleged terrorism

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    The Judicial Court in Paris which is used to try terrorist cases; February 2021. © Jérôme Leblois / Hans Lucas via AFP The Judicial Court in Paris which is used to try terrorist cases; February 2021. © Jérôme Leblois / Hans Lucas via AFP

    For the first time in a dozen years France's antiterrorist authorities are investigating an alleged terrorist plot by an 'ultra Left' group. In December nine people were arrested at various locations around France. Seven of them were subsequently placed under formal investigation on suspicion of plotting “violent action” against the forces of law and order. Five of them have been held in custody since then. Mediapart's Camille Polloni has spoken to the families and friends of some of those arrested about what they have gone through. Inevitably this new case brings with it reminders of the long-running 'Tarnac affair' in which after a decade of investigations and legal proceedings a group of left-wing activists accused of terrorist acts against French railway lines eventually saw all those charges dismissed.

  • Council funding of Strasbourg mosque provokes row with French interior minister

    By Guillaume Krempp and Jean-François Gérard (Rue 89 Strasbourg)
    Work began on the Eyüp Sultan mosque in Strasbourg in 2015 and is still continuing. © Guillaume Krempp/Rue89 Strasbourg Work began on the Eyüp Sultan mosque in Strasbourg in 2015 and is still continuing. © Guillaume Krempp/Rue89 Strasbourg

    Councillors in Strasbourg have just voted through a 2.5 million euro grant to help build a new mosque in the city in north-east France, a region where unlike the rest of the country the law permits local authorities to fund religious buildings. However, the move by the Green-run council immediately attracted the ire of France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin because the group behind the mosque, Confédération Islamique Milli Görüs (CIMG), is a Franco-Turkish association which has refused to sign the government's new “charter of principles” for Islam in France. The minister, who is championing the government's new law against 'separatism', is now threatening legal action. Report by Guillaume Krempp and Jean-François Gérard of Mediapart's partners in the city, Rue 89 Strasbourg.

  • Revealed: the neo-Nazis within the ranks of France’s armed forces

    By Sébastien Bourdon, Justine Brabant and Matthieu Suc
    Screenshots of photos posted by soldiers on social media showing Nazi salutes. © Mediapart Screenshots of photos posted by soldiers on social media showing Nazi salutes. © Mediapart

    An investigation by Mediapart revealing the existence of neo-Nazi sympathisers among French military personnel has prompted the armed forces minister and France’s chief of defence staff to promise a crackdown on extremists within the ranks. The investigation, detailed here, identified 50 members of the French armed forces, many of who brazenly posted photos and videos on social media illustrating their admiration of Nazi ideology. Sébastien Bourdon, Justine Brabant and Matthieu Suc report.

  • How ‘Islamophobia’ row erupted at French political sciences school

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    Students gather in a protest in front of the entrance to the Grenoble Sciences Po school on March 9th. © PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP Students gather in a protest in front of the entrance to the Grenoble Sciences Po school on March 9th. © PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

    A national controversy blew up in France earlier this month over a ‘naming and shaming’ campaign by students at a political sciences school who accused two of their teachers of Islamophobia, prompting police protection for the pair. While there has been widespread political and media condemnation of the students’ campaign, this investigation by Mediapart found that the case is far more complex than so far presented, and that the controversy was fanned by the timidity of the school's management to intervene in a simmering dispute within its walls. David Perrotin reports.