Jean-Louis Haguenauer, left, and Alexandre Benalla at a château in the Dordogne in August 2018. © Document Mediapart
In the unfolding saga of the Benalla affair, which involves President Emmanuel Macron's sacked security aide Alexandre Benalla, one man played a key role in the shadows. He is French middleman Jean-Louis Haguenauer, the man behind the Russia security contract negotiated by Benalla while the latter was still working as a key aide at the Élysée. Mediapart can reveal how over a period of 30 years Haguenauer cultivated a network of contacts in Russia, including close links with the Russian secret services. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.
Well-paid: Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. © Reuters
A communist candidate in the forthcoming European Parliament elections in France recently called for Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker's salary to be drastically reduced. At the same time Mediapart has examined the high levels of pay and other benefits enjoyed by the civil servants who work in the Brussels-based bureaucracy. In all some 60,000 or so officials work for the EU, a number of whom have told Mediapart that their salaries are justified. Quentin Ariès reports.
Far-right Rassemblement National party leader Marine Le Pen. © Reuters
To fund its campaign for this month’s European Parliament elections, the French far-right Rassemblement National party (the renamed Front National) has raised around 4 million euros through so-called “patriotic” loans from its members and supporters, to who it has promised a 5% interest rate. The party will submit the amounts raised, with interest, in its application for a post-election refund of campaign spending that is granted to parties and paid out of the public purse. The generous interest payments paid to its lending members and supporters will cost the taxpayer around 200,000 euros, and the party says it plans employing the same strategy in future elections. Marine Turchi reports.
Police on motorbikes inside the grounds of Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, May 1st 2019.
The Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris has been at the centre of a major controversy after incidents that took place there in the aftermath of this year's annual May Day demonstrations. Throughout the evening of May 1st and into the following morning, several members of the government and senior health managers in Paris insisted the well-known hospital had been “attacked” by violent demonstrators. Yet in fact there was no such attack: instead, a few dozen protestors sought refuge in the hospital's buildings to escape police tear gas and charges. There was no threatening behaviour from protestors towards hospital staff and none of them damaged the premises. However, some were later hit by the police. Now interior minister Christophe Castaner has formally retracted his use of the word “attack”. Dan Israel reports.
'Maria', aged 19, after her emergency operation following the incident in Marseille. © Mediapart
On Tuesday April 30th 2019, a 19-year-old woman formally lodged a criminal complaint with the Marseilles prosecution services against unnamed persons for attempted murder, aggravated assault and failure to assist a person in danger. This followed an incident on December 8th 2018 when, on the fringes of a demonstration by 'yellow vest' protesters in the southern French port city, 'Maria' – not her real name – was kicked in the head and struck with batons by police officers, according to several witnesses, as she lay injured on the ground. She suffered a skull fracture and brain damage. Pascale Pascariello reports.
Relief organisations estimate that over the past four years around 85,000 Yemeni children have died from hunger or illness. © Reuters
Weapons sold by France to the Saudi-led coalition offensive against the Houthi rebellion in Yemen are being used to starve millions of the country’s population, a strategy the United Nations has described as a method of warfare that “may constitute a war crime”.
Amid the ongoing war in Yemen, France continued to supply weapons to, and also signed new contracts with, Saudi Arabia, all of it behind a veil of secrecy.
A Saudi army display of French-made CAESAR howitzers (left of picture), one of the most lethal artillery weapons in existence. © DR
An unprecedented leak of secret documents from France’s military intelligence agency, the DRM, has revealed the massive use of French-made weapons, like those also of the US, the UK and Germany, in the ongoing civil war in Yemen. The contents of the leaked documents are detailed here in three exclusive reports published simultaneously by Mediapart and its partner Disclose, a newly founded independent, not-for-profit online magazine of investigative journalism, which reports how these weapons have been used against the civilian population in a war that has wreaked what the United Nations describe as “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world”.
Éric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, standing on a Rafale jet fighter at the Le Bourget airshow near Paris in 2015. © Dassault
As India heads into tightly fought general elections on Thursday, outgoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become further engulfed in a suspected corruption scandal surrounding the sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets, built by French group Dassault Aviation, in a deal he signed in 2016. It emerged this weekend that, during negotiations over the contract, the French tax authorities extraordinarily wrote off a tax debt of more than 140 million euros owed by a French company belonging to Anil Ambani, an Indian businessman and friend of Modi’s, whose company was made industrial partner in the deal in questionable circumstances. Meanwhile, anti-corruption NGO Sherpa has submitted further information to the French public prosecution services over numerous “irregularities” that implicate the different parties in the contract, worth 7.7 billion euros.
Thomas Enders, left, and Louis Gallois were joint CEOs of Airbus between 2005 and 2007. © Reuters
Secret documents obtained by Mediapart and German publication Der Spiegel show for the first time how Airbus gave direct orders to an intermediary to hand out 9.5 million euros in commissions to help clinch the sale of its aircraft in Egypt. This deal is now being examined by France's fraud prosecution unit and British fraud detectives who are carrying out a major investigation into alleged corruption by the giant European aircraft manufacturer. Yann Philippin and Virginie Le Borgne report.