Investigations

  • French probe into Nicolas Sarkozy's 3m-euro Russian contract

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    Nicolas Sarkozy, pictured here attending a conference in Moscow on January 16th 2020. © Evgeny Biyatov / Sputnik via AFP Nicolas Sarkozy, pictured here attending a conference in Moscow on January 16th 2020. © Evgeny Biyatov / Sputnik via AFP

    The French public prosecution services on Friday confirmed they have opened a preliminary investigation into suspected “influence peddling” in relation to a 3-million-euro contract handed to former president Nicolas Sarkozy by Russian insurance services group RESO-Garantia in 2019. The group, one of the largest insurance companies in Russia, is owned by brothers Sergei and Nikolai Sarkisov, whose business dealings, including the sale of a third of its capital to French insurance giant AXA, have involved complex financial structures in tax havens. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.   

  • Key Sarkozy allies admit their errors over secret meetings with Libyan terror chief

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    Key Sarkozy allies: Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, in February 2011, at the Ministry of the Interior in Paris. © LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP Key Sarkozy allies: Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, in February 2011, at the Ministry of the Interior in Paris. © LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP

    Two of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's closest allies, Brice Hortefeux and Claude Guéant, have recently been placed under formal investigation for “criminal conspiracy” over claims that the ex-head of state's 2007 election was part-funded by the Libyan regime. Mediapart can now reveal that during questioning by judges both men admitted to lapses in judgement in meeting a spy chief from Muammar Gaddafi's regime who was wanted by the French justice system after being convicted of a terrorist attack. Yet they deny there was any deal for the Libyans to help fund the election campaign. Both men also loyally continue to protect their former boss, who himself faces claims of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the case. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Anatomy of a disaster: how the start of France's vaccine campaign went badly wrong

    Health minister Olivier Véran in Paris on January 4th 2021. © MARTIN BUREAU / AFP Health minister Olivier Véran in Paris on January 4th 2021. © MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

    The initial slowness in the rollout of its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 has sparked a major political row in France. An investigation by Mediapart can now reveal that a failure of logistics prevented the Pfizer vaccine from being distributed more quickly. As with the earlier debacle over face masks, the Ministry of Health failed to react quickly enough to events and by the end of December had only managed to put in place 38 of the 113 special freezers needed to store the doses at low temperatures. At least three weeks were lost as a result, report Caroline Coq-Chodorge and Antton Rouget.

  • The video evidence of how French police sabotaged a Paris demonstration

    By Sébastien Bourdon, Camille Polloni, Antton Rouget and Antoine Schirer
    Comment la police a saboté la manifestation du 12 décembre 2020. Enquête vidéo. © Mediapart

    Mediapart has gathered and analysed hundreds of videos taken during a demonstration staged in Paris on December 12th 2020 against the French government's controversial “global security” law. Our investigation shows the unlawful nature of dozens of police charges carried out that day. It also documents the arbitrary arrests of demonstrators, baton blows given for no reason and the misleading statements made by interior minister Gérald Darmanin, especially over the nature and outcome of the arrests made. Sébastien Bourdon, Camille Polloni, Antton Rouget and Antoine Schirer investigate.

  • Qatar 2022: probe into World Cup award intrigued by job for Platini’s son

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    From left: Sébastien Bazin, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Nicolas Sarkozy and Michel Platini. © Simon Toupet / Mediapart. Photos AFP From left: Sébastien Bazin, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Nicolas Sarkozy and Michel Platini. © Simon Toupet / Mediapart. Photos AFP

    In an ongoing judicial investigation in France into suspected corruption surrounding the awarding of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar, evidence seized at the Paris offices of US firm Colony Capital suggests a well-remunerated post handed to Laurent Platini, son of former football star and UEFA president Michel Platini, by Qatari sovereign fund QSI may have been linked to its purchase of French football club PSG. The probe is focused on a crucial lunch meeting at the Élysée Palace in 2010 hosted by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and attended among others by Michel Platini and the then crown prince of Qatar. Yann Philippin unravels a complex case involving heads of state, business, diplomacy and arrangements behind closed doors.

  • How French soldiers risk compromising their security on social networks

    By , Sébastien Bourdon and Antoine Schirer
     © Mediapart © Mediapart

    The French military has banned soldiers from posting sensitive information online. However, via a number of different apps Mediapart has managed to discover the profiles of more than 800 French troops deployed abroad and the profiles of more than 200 special forces soldiers. The military's general staff meanwhile is reluctant to discuss the precise measures that have been taken to contain a problem that could put the security of military personnel and their operations at risk, especially from terrorists who target French troops abroad. Justine Brabant and Sébastien Bourdon report.

  • Paris-based football star Ali Benarbia told to repay 4m euros in tax after claiming he lived in Qatar

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    Ali Bernarbia was a member of the 'dream team' of football pundits on RMC Sport from 2010 to 2019. © RMC Sport Ali Bernarbia was a member of the 'dream team' of football pundits on RMC Sport from 2010 to 2019. © RMC Sport

    Ali Benarbia, the former Manchester City and Monaco player who became a prominent television sports pundit on French television and radio, has been told to pay back taxes of just under 4 million euros by the French tax authorities. Mediapart has learnt that the former Algerian international was paid via a fictitious company in Qatar and claimed to be living in the Middle Eastern country. In fact, he and his family were resident in Paris, tax investigators found. Yann Philippin and Matthieu Suc report.

  • The curious disappearance of Nicolas Sarkozy's official diaries

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    Nicolas Sarkozy at Nice in May 2019. © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy at Nice in May 2019. © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

    When Nicolas Sarkozy was being questioned by judges over claims that his 2007 president election campaign was part-funded by the Libyan regime, he agreed to hand over his official diaries from that period. However, Mediapart understands that his lawyer has now told the judges that the former president is unable to provide any of them. This sudden about-face comes right in the middle of Nicolas Sarkozy's ongoing corruption trial, in which those very same diaries play a prominent role. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Former UEFA boss Michel Platini faces 'fraud' claims over 1.8m euro payment

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    Michel Platini in Bern, Switzerland, August 31st 2020. © Fabrice Coffrini / AFP Michel Platini in Bern, Switzerland, August 31st 2020. © Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

    Mediapart has learnt that the prosecution authorities in Switzerland are investigating the former French football star and ex-head of European football body UEFA Michel Platini for alleged fraud over a 1.8 million euro payment he received in 2011. That payment was made by Sepp Blatter, then head of world football's governing body FIFA, who also faces a similar probe. Yann Philippin reports.

  • Revealed: another shocking case of Paris police violence

    By and Armel Baudet
    CCTV images captured the illegal arrests of six innocent young men in April 2019, and the moment one officer fired at their vehicle (full video in the article page). CCTV images captured the illegal arrests of six innocent young men in April 2019, and the moment one officer fired at their vehicle (full video in the article page).

    As incidents of police violence and the failure of the authorities to effectively address the issue continue to occupy public debate in France, Mediapart reveals here, with video footage, the violent and illegal arrests in Paris of six innocent young men by gun-wielding officers, one of whom fired bullets into their car. In what has all the appearance of a cover-up, not only was one of the six victims sent for trial for violence, but the officer who shot at him without any justification is still on duty because, the police administration claimed, prosecutors concluded he acted in self-defence. Which is untrue. Pascale Pascariello and Armel Baudet report.