Investigations

  • Five more women accuse Luc Besson of sexual misconduct

    By and Geoffrey Le Guilcher
    French producer and director Luc Besson, February 17th 2018. © Reuters French producer and director Luc Besson, February 17th 2018. © Reuters

    Following Mediapart’s revelations in July of the accounts of four women who accuse French filmmaker Luc Besson of sexual misconduct, five more women have now come forward with new allegations against him of inappropriate sexual behaviour and which are detailed in this report. Besson, 59, the celebrated producer and director behind blockbuster films that notably include 'Nikita', ‘The Big Blue’, 'Leon', ‘The Fifth Element’ and 'Lucy', is the subject of a formal complaint for rape filed in France earlier this year by Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy, an accusation that the filmmaker firmly denies.

  • How French foreign minister Le Drian lied over Khashoggi affair

    Yves Le Drian and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April 2018. © Reuters Yves Le Drian and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April 2018. © Reuters

    On November 12th, 2018, Jean-Yves Le Drian insisted on French television that he was not aware of evidence supplied by Turkey regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi killers. Yet no fewer than seven French diplomats and intelligence agents have contradicted this claim by France's foreign minister. Thomas Cantaloube, Lucie Delaporte, René Backmann, Nicolas Cheviron, Matthieu Suc and Rachida El Azzouzi investigate.

  • How Qatar used an anti-corruption organisation to spy on its rivals

    By , Mathieu Martiniere and Robert Schmidt (We Report)
    Mohammed Hanzab, president of the ICSS, based in Doha, Qatar. © ICSS Mohammed Hanzab, president of the ICSS, based in Doha, Qatar. © ICSS

    In just a few years the International Centre for Sport Security, an NGO based in Doha, has made a name for itself in the global fight against corruption in sport. But Football Leaks reveals a hidden side to this organisation which is funded by the Qatari state and which works with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Sorbonne University in Paris. In April 2015 former police officers working for the ICSS went to Lausanne to tail one of the key figures in world sport, the Kuwaiti sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Mediapart's Antton Rouget and Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt from independent journalistic collective We Report investigate.

  • Vadim Vasilyev – the 'Mr 10%' at AS Monaco football club

    By and Michel Henry
    capture-d-e-cran-2018-11-20-a-01-29-21

    The vice-president and CEO of AS Monaco receives 10% of the profits made on the sale of players by the French football club, according to evidence from Football Leaks documents. Vadim Vasilyev, who is a close ally of club owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, is in line to receive up to 41 million euros in total from player transfers over the last five seasons.

  • The doubtful 'private' contracts issued by AS Monaco

    By and Michel Henry
    "Not allowed to pay more than 10% on agents' commissions? Just  give me 200,000 euros as a scout for players in Africa". © Ulys "Not allowed to pay more than 10% on agents' commissions? Just give me 200,000 euros as a scout for players in Africa". © Ulys

    In order to get around the financial regulations imposed by France’s Professional Football League, which is responsible for managing and overseeing the proper conduct of clubs in the country’s top two football divisions, AS Monaco developed a system of private agreements, which are legally uncertified deals, with players and their agents. The scheme involved not only agent’s commissions disguised as so-called “scouting agreements” but also, the evidence from Football Leaks documents suggest, a friendly match that was never played between AS Monaco and Manchester United about which neither club agreed to comment upon.

  • When 'friend' of Monaco's prince touted to Nike his influence with the IAAF

    By and Michel Henry

    An individual close to Prince Albert II of Monaco received a hefty commission after sportswear company Nike signed a sponsorship contract with football club AS Monaco. According to documents consulted by Mediapart, during the negotiations the intermediary suggested that the prince, a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations, would “lend his support” for the candidature of the Oregon state city of Eugene, with which Nike is closely associated, to host the world athletics championship. Which it will, in 2021. Prince Albert firmly denies giving "any voting instructions".

  • How oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev's aides plotted his wife's arrest in Cyprus

    By and Michel Henry
    Elena Rybolovleva's petition  for 'the most expensive divorce in history' was a high-stakes battle over Dmitry Rybolovlev's immense fortune. © Ulys Elena Rybolovleva's petition for 'the most expensive divorce in history' was a high-stakes battle over Dmitry Rybolovlev's immense fortune. © Ulys

    In 2014, at the height of a bitter divorce battle with his wife of 23 years, Elena Rybolovleva, Russian multi-billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev organised the arrest of his wife when she travelled to Cyprus, where much of his fortune is placed, to discuss a settlement with him. The oligarch is close to high-ranking figures in Cyprus, and the circumstances of the arrest were, at the very least, highly unusual, while confidential messages swapped at the time by Rybolovlev’s aides spoke of secret meetings with a man called “our friend”, and a “president”. In this third report in a seven-part series of investigations into the oligarch’s activities, Mediapart unveils the disturbing background to Elena Rybolovleva’s arrest.

  • How Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev spun his web over Monaco

    By and Michel Henry
    Dmitry Rybolovlev (left) with Prince Albert II of Monaco, May 4th 2013. © Reuters Dmitry Rybolovlev (left) with Prince Albert II of Monaco, May 4th 2013. © Reuters

    When Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev took control of AS Monaco in 2011, he had not only offered himself a football club, he had secured himself a base from where he began spinning a web of influence in the Riviera micro-state, including around Monaco’s royal family. In this second of a seven-part series of investigations into the oligarch’s activities, Mediapart lifts the lid on a developing scandal shaking the Rock.

  • Dmitry Rybolovlev, the man who wanted to offer himself a country

    By and Michel Henry
    Dmitry Rybolovlev (left) with Prince Albert II of Monaco. © Reuters Dmitry Rybolovlev (left) with Prince Albert II of Monaco. © Reuters

    Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought football club AS Monaco in December 2011. But the man whose assets include a Greek island, luxurious properties worldwide including a Palm Beach mansion bought from Donald Trump, an Airbus, and a vast collection of artworks, had set his eyes on offering himself much more – namely, a country. This investigation is the first in a series of seven Mediapart reports into the activities of the oligarch, based partly on documents from the Football Leaks data files.

  • How Neymar transfer became a financial abyss for PSG

    By and
    Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known as Neymar Junior. © Reuters Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known as Neymar Junior. © Reuters

    Documents from Football Leaks lift the lid on the real cost and the dealings behind the record-breaking transfer in the summer of 2017 of Brazilian football star Neymar from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Revealed here by Mediapart, they tell of massive commission payments, up-to-the-wire negotiations that almost collapsed amid a tetchy moment of bluff, tax dilemmas and the club’s suspicions that some of those accompanying the player to Paris were in undeclared employment. Meanwhile, despite the capture of one of the world’s most celebrated players, the transfer appears to represent a financial abyss for PSG.