Investigations

  • French pharma Sanofi: last with its Covid vaccine but top with its lobbying

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    The Sanofi factory at Val-de-Reuil in Normandy, September 5th 2022. © Lou Benoist / AFP The Sanofi factory at Val-de-Reuil in Normandy, September 5th 2022. © Lou Benoist / AFP

    The Covid-19 vaccine produced by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi has finally been approved by European regulators, well after rival products from its competitors. But while the French fgroup may have been last in getting a vaccine ready to fight the pandemic, it is a different story when it comes to lobbying. As Rozenn Le Saint reports, over the last two years Sanofi has spent more than its rivals in a bid to influence the authorities in Paris and Brussels.

  • Sarkozy-Libya: deleted messages suggest ex-president was kept informed about witness retraction

    'Mimi' Marchand during a tribute to the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo at the Hôtel des Invalides in central Paris on September 9th 2021. © Photo Romain Gaillard / REA 'Mimi' Marchand during a tribute to the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo at the Hôtel des Invalides in central Paris on September 9th 2021. © Photo Romain Gaillard / REA

    Previously-deleted digital conversations that have been retrieved by an IT expert show that well-connected Paris paparazzi boss Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand oversaw from start to finish an operation which led to the false retraction of a witness statement by Ziad Takieddine. Takieddine is a key witness in the affair that centres on claims that the Libyan regime helped fund Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. In those same messages Marchand stated that she was keeping the former president – who was given the nickname 'Zébulon' – informed in real time of events concerning the Takieddine evidence retraction saga. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • French soldiers deployed in Romania on NATO mission are 'cold' and 'hungry'

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    Photos of the living conditions experienced by French soldiers deployed at Cincu in Romania since February 2022. © Documents Mediapart Photos of the living conditions experienced by French soldiers deployed at Cincu in Romania since February 2022. © Documents Mediapart

    On November 3rd France's armed forces minister Sébastien Lecornu visited French troops who have been deployed in Romania as part of a NATO mission. However, despite the upbeat photo opportunities, some of the soldiers stationed there complain of logistical failings, a lack of food and poor living conditions. Justine Brabant reports.

  • How a 'digital army' paid for by French club Paris Saint-Germain smeared its opponents online

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    Some of the Tweets from PSG's 'digital army'. © Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Some of the Tweets from PSG's 'digital army'. © Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    An external agency paid by the Qatari-owned Paris club created an “army” of fake Twitter accounts which then carried out aggressive and foul-mouthed online smear campaigns, in particular against the media and some of the Paris football club's own leading figures. Mediapart and the sports newspaper L’Équipe were among the main targets. This “digital army” even had a go at PSG's French star Kylian Mbappé. Clément Fayol and Yann Philippin report.

  • Gaddafi funding probe: more revelations from Sarkozy ally’s hard disk

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    Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP

    The French judicial investigation into the suspected illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has found new evidence pointing to the organisation of the alleged funding on computer files belonging to Thierry Gaubert, a close friend and political ally of the former French president. In this second of a two-part report on the discovery, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail more about the findings and their implications.

  • What the hard disk of close Sarkozy ally reveals about the Gaddafi funding affair

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    Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP

    In what appears to be a significant development in the French judicial investigation into the suspected illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the probe has discovered evidence pointing to the involvement in the alleged funding of Thierry Gaubert, a longstanding friend and political ally of the former French president. This centres on the contents of a computer hard disk belonging to Gaubert, seized in 2011 in a separate case concerning him, and which have only now come to light. In this first of a two-part report, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail the findings and their implications for Sarkozy.

  • Key Gaddafi aides add new evidence in Sarkozy funding investigation

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    Clockwise from top left: Muammar Gaddafi, Nicolas Sarkozy, Bashir Saleh, Cécilia Attias with Mabrouka Sherif, Claude Guéant and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP Clockwise from top left: Muammar Gaddafi, Nicolas Sarkozy, Bashir Saleh, Cécilia Attias with Mabrouka Sherif, Claude Guéant and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP

    Bashir Saleh, the former chief of staff to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has given a statement to the public prosecution services of Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Unity saying that he was informed how Nicolas Sarkozy directly asked Gaddafi for “help” with his 2007 presidential election campaign. The prosecutors have also obtained a detailed statement from Gaddafi’s personal secretary, Ahmed Ramadan, on precisely how the regime allegedly financed Sarkozy’s bid. In this second part of a series of three reports, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on the latest developments in the French judicial investigation into the suspected illegal funding.

  • Sarkozy’s ex-wife ‘staggered’ at findings of Libyan funding probe

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    Clockwise from top left: Bernard Squarcini, Cécilia Attias, Nicolas Sarkozy, Muammar Gaddafi, Thierry Gaubert and Brice Hortefeux. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP Clockwise from top left: Bernard Squarcini, Cécilia Attias, Nicolas Sarkozy, Muammar Gaddafi, Thierry Gaubert and Brice Hortefeux. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP

    Cécilia Attias, the former wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, was interviewed in June as a witness by police acting under the authority of a judicial investigation into the suspected illegal funding of her then husband’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. During the four-hours of questioning, she was notably unflattering about several of the former president’s close entourage, and described evidence from the probe that was presented to her as, variously, “staggering”, “surreal” and “ugly”.  Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report. 

  • Kingdom of modern slavery: the plight of migrant workers preparing Qatar for World Cup

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     © Illustration Simon Toupet / Mediapart © Illustration Simon Toupet / Mediapart

    Forced labour, working without pay, excessive working hours in sweltering heat ... despite several reforms brought in by the emirate's authorities under pressure from human rights groups, the migrant labourers working flat-out to ensure the gas-rich state of Qatar is ready to host November's World Cup finals are still enduring appalling conditions. Rachida El Azzouzi reports from Doha on the plight of the workers just two months before the tournament kicks off.

     

  • Sex, blackmail and videotapes: extraordinary saga of a French mayor's plot against his own deputy

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    Mayor Gaël Perdriau, his deputy Gilles Artigues and Pierre Gauttieri. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP et MaxPPP Mayor Gaël Perdriau, his deputy Gilles Artigues and Pierre Gauttieri. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP et MaxPPP

    Prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation after Mediapart revealed claims that the mayor of Saint-Étienne in south-east France, Gaël Perdriau, blackmailed his deputy mayor Gilles Artigues using a videotape of the latter with a male escort in an hotel room. The apparent aim of the blackmail was to ensure that Perdriau, who is from the right-wing Les Républicains (LR), maintained political control over his deputy Gilles Artigues, a devout Catholic and former Member of Parliament from the centre-right UDI party. After the initial revelations Mediapart then published extracts from recordings which revealed both Gaël Perdriau and his chief of staff threatening the deputy mayor over the sex tape. Both men, along with three others, have now been questioned in custody by detectives. Antton Rouget reports on an affair that has provoked widespread condemnation across the political spectrum.