Investigations

  • How Macron's security aide produced gun for a selfie during election campaign

    Alexandre Benalla and two other members of the campaign security team pose with a waitress in Poitiers in April 2017. © Mediapart Alexandre Benalla and two other members of the campaign security team pose with a waitress in Poitiers in April 2017. © Mediapart

    The incident took place on the night of April 28th, 2017, after an election rally by Emmanuel Macron. Alexandre Benalla – who has now lost his job as the president's security aide – posed for a selfie in a restaurant. In it he is shown holding his gun. The problem for Benalla, however, is that at the time he was not authorised to carry a firearm. Christophe Gueugneau and Antton Rouget report.

  • Why so few French jihadists have returned from Syria

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    Ruins in the Syrian city of Raqqa, once a bastion of Islamic State. © Reuters Ruins in the Syrian city of Raqqa, once a bastion of Islamic State. © Reuters

    Following the military rout of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq, large numbers of French jihadists were forecast to return home. But in fact, those who have made the journey back represent relatively few of the estimated 700 who joined the ranks of IS in the Middle East. Since 2016, just 64 men and women jihadists have returned – and only seven so far this year. One principal reason is the logistical difficulties for those fleeing the zone and the high fees demanded by people smugglers. But the situation presents a potential security threat in that those who escape by their own means can become invisible to intelligence services.   Matthieu Suc reports.

     

  • François Hollande, his partner’s film, and the French fighter jet sale to India

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    Julie Gayet and François Hollande. © Reuters Julie Gayet and François Hollande. © Reuters

    The sale to India by France of 36 Dassault Rafale jet fighters, signed during the presidency of François Hollande, is at the centre of a growing scandal in India where opposition parliamentarians have demanded a detailed investigation of the deal, alleging favouritism, mismanagement of public funds, and the endangering of national security. They are notably suspicious of the circumstances by which India’s Reliance Group was assigned as Dassault’s partner in the building of the jets. As Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report here, at the very time the deal was struck, Reliance provided funding for a film produced by Hollande’s personal partner, the actress Julie Gayet.

  • Ex-minister seeks to justify cash payments in Libyan election funding affair

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    Senior conservative MP Éric Woerth in the National Assembly on November 15th, 2017. © Reuters Senior conservative MP Éric Woerth in the National Assembly on November 15th, 2017. © Reuters

    The former minister and current senior Member of Parliament Éric Woerth has been questioned by judges investigating claims that Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign was funded by Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime. Woerth, the treasurer of that campaign, sought to play down his role in handling envelopes stuffed full of cash at the election campaign headquarters. But according to a transcript of his evidence, seen by Mediapart, Woerth's explanations weakened his own defence. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report

  • French government's curious silence over sports minister's resignation

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    Former sports minister Laura Flessel with President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters Former sports minister Laura Flessel with President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters

    When the former fencing champion Laura Flessel resigned as sports minister earlier this week her departure was initially put down simply to “personal reasons”. Later it emerged that she and her husband face a possible investigation over tax fraud in relation to a company they own. The government, however, has refused to say when it first became aware of possible issues over the minister's tax affairs. Antton Rouget investigates.

  • Moroccan police called in to deal with foreign youngsters on Paris streets

    Police intervene in an altercation between Moroccan youths and a local trader in the Goutte d'Or district of Paris, July 2018. © Rachida El Azzouzi Police intervene in an altercation between Moroccan youths and a local trader in the Goutte d'Or district of Paris, July 2018. © Rachida El Azzouzi

    Dozens of Moroccan youths roam the Goutte d'Or district of Paris, where they are both the authors and victims of violence and have been making life a misery for local inhabitants. Unable to cope, over the summer the French authorities called on Moroccan police officers to help arrange possible repatriation of some of the youngsters. Rachida El Azzouzi and Mathilde Mathieu report on a policy that has alarmed some local support groups.

  • Macron security aide affair: Alexandre Benalla says he concealed evidence

    Villers-Cotterets, north-east of Paris, in March 2017,  Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by Alexandre Benalla, visits the town where writer Alexandre Dumas was born. © Reuters Villers-Cotterets, north-east of Paris, in March 2017, Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by Alexandre Benalla, visits the town where writer Alexandre Dumas was born. © Reuters

    Paris prosecutors have refused to broaden the scope of the investigation of the Alexandre Benalla affair into claims that evidence in the case was concealed. This is despite the fact that, according to documents seen by Mediapart, President Emmanuel Macron's former security aide himself claimed that he had arranged for evidence to be hidden. The affair concerns claims – backed by video footage – that Benalla and another official unlawfully took part in the arrest of a May Day demonstrator in a Paris park earlier this year. Pascale Pascariello, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Proof of Macron chief of staff's lie over family links to shipping firm

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    Chief of staff Alexis Kohler and PM Edouard Philippe, both members of the Le Havre Supervisory Board from 2010 to 2012. © LCI Chief of staff Alexis Kohler and PM Edouard Philippe, both members of the Le Havre Supervisory Board from 2010 to 2012. © LCI

    Contrary to what he has stated, President Emmanuel Macron's chief of staff Alexis Kohler has not always revealed his family links to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and in his duties as a senior public servant has not always stood aside from issues involving the giant Italian-Swiss shipping firm. Official documents from the major French port of Le Havre, seen by Mediapart, show that Kohler took part in discussions and votes concerning the company while he sat on the port's Supervisory Board as a civil servant from 2010 to 2012. Laurent Mauduit and Martine Orange investigate.

  • New video shows Macron aide and associate illegally 'policing' May Day crowds

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    Alexandre Benalla (circled, with white hood) and Vincent Crase (circled right) during the arrest of a man in the Jardin des plantes on May 1st. Alexandre Benalla (circled, with white hood) and Vincent Crase (circled right) during the arrest of a man in the Jardin des plantes on May 1st.

    French President Emmanuel Macron’s security aide Alexandre Benalla, together with an employee of Macron’s ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, were involved on May 1st in other incidents before they assaulted a man among May Day crowds at a square in the Latin Quarter of Paris. In a new video obtained by Mediapart, the two men, officially present alongside police as civilian “observers” of crowd-control operations that day, can be seen heavy-handedly joining in the arrest of a man at a public park. The new evidence of their violent and illegal behaviour that day further deepens the scandal of a suspected cover-up of their actions by the presidential office and senior police hierarchy.

  • Macron aide scandal: illegally copied CCTV footage given to Élysée ended up on Twitter

    Alexandre Benalla (foreground) during the May Day marches in Paris on May 1st. © DR Alexandre Benalla (foreground) during the May Day marches in Paris on May 1st. © DR

    The unfolding scandal prompted by videos of the vicious assault of a man during May Day disturbances by President Emmanuel Macron’s private security aide Alexandre Benalla now includes the revelation that confidential police CCTV footage of the events in a Paris square were published on Twitter by supporters of Macron’s party in an attempt to denigrate Benalla’s victim. Screenshots obtained by Mediapart show the images, apparently from a CD copy of the footage given to Benalla by police officers, and which Benalla said he immediately handed to the Élysée Palace, were posted on social media just after Benalla’s thuggish behaviour was revealed by French daily Le Monde – before being removed just hours later.Karl Laske, Pascale Pascariello and Lénaïg Bredoux report.