Investigations

  • The fall of Macron and Hollande's Syrian 'friend'

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    Mohamad Izzat Khatab with François Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, former European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker, and former chief of the defence staff in France General Jean-Louis Georgelin. © Photomontage Mediapart Mohamad Izzat Khatab with François Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, former European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker, and former chief of the defence staff in France General Jean-Louis Georgelin. © Photomontage Mediapart

    He has been variously described as a “billionaire, a “peacemaker” and a key figure in “inter-faith dialogue”. For ten years French political and religious leaders have rolled out the red carpet for Mohamad Izzat Khatab, a Syrian businessman whose past is shrouded in mystery. According to an investigation by Mediapart, this fan of selfies taken with the rich and powerful has just been placed under investigation in relation to a vast fraud case. Antton Rouget reports.

  • French secret services fear Taliban victory may inspire homegrown terrorists

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    Screen grab from June 19th 2001 showing members of Al Qaeda marching at a training camp in Afghanistan. © HO/AFP Screen grab from June 19th 2001 showing members of Al Qaeda marching at a training camp in Afghanistan. © HO/AFP

    The Taliban's return to power in Kabul has raised fears about the potential knock-on effect that their victory will have in other parts of the world. French intelligence services believe that here the main danger is likely to come from the morale boost it will give to terrorists or potential terrorists already based in France. Matthieu Suc has spoken to members of the intelligence community to assess the potential threats following recent events in Afghanistan.

  • French paparazzi boss Michèle Marchand faces investigation in police celebrity 'leaks' case

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    Illustration featuring, from left, Karine Le Marchand, Michèle Marchand  and Benjamin Griveaux. © Photo Illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP Illustration featuring, from left, Karine Le Marchand, Michèle Marchand and Benjamin Griveaux. © Photo Illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP

    Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand, a powerful figure in the French gossip press and an influential PR fixer to politicians, has already been placed under investigation over the retraction of evidence by businessman Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the probe into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. Now Marchand, 74, the boss of paparazzi agency Bestimage, has been placed under investigation in relation to a second case, involving allegations of police leaks. It concerns the publication of photos of the arrest of a man over a sex tape affair that ended the hopes of former government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux of becoming mayor of Paris for Emmanuel Macron's party. Marchand, who denies any wrongdoing, is also being investigated for alleged “extortion” against well-known French television presenter Karine Le Marchand. Fabrice Arfi and Antton Rouget report.

  • French interior minister says ‘no justification’ to suspend police over death of deliveryman

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    Cédric Chouviat pinned to the ground by police officers in Paris on January 3rd 2020. © Document Mediapart Cédric Chouviat pinned to the ground by police officers in Paris on January 3rd 2020. © Document Mediapart

    On the morning of January 3rd 2020, a 42-year-old deliveryman, Cédric Chouviat, was flagged down for a roadside check by police close to the Eiffel Tower in central Paris. After a brief altercation, he was arrested and pinned to the ground by police using a stranglehold, causing him to suffocate and suffer a fatal cardiac arrest, despite his pleas for them to let go. Although there is compelling evidence of the excessive, brutal manhandling of Chouviat by the officers implicated in the events, three of whom have been formally placed under investigation, French interior minister Gérald Darmanin recently wrote to Chouviat’s family dismissing their call for the officers to be suspended from duty while awaiting the outcome of an ongoing judicial probe. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • Sarkozy-Libya funding probe: judges investigating witness tampering denounce ‘case of major gravity’

    Michèle Marchand and (clockwise from left) Hervé Gattegno, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog. © Photo Illustration Simon Toupet /Mediapart avec AFP Michèle Marchand and (clockwise from left) Hervé Gattegno, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog. © Photo Illustration Simon Toupet /Mediapart avec AFP

    Documents to which Mediapart has obtained access reveal evidence suggesting how a witness tampering plot was mounted to discredit the case against former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a judicial investigation into the alleged funding of his 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. According to judges investigating the alleged plot, it was “aimed at influencing the statements of a witness and to mislead, even to publicly discredit, the examining magistrates in charge of a case of particular sensitivity”. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • 'Rafale Papers': France opens judicial probe into fighter deal with India, new revelations emerge

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    French armed forces minister Florence Parly with Reliance Group owner and chairman Anil Ambani (centre) and Éric Trappier (left), during the inauguration of the joint venture plant in Nagpur, October 27th 2017. © Money Sharma / AFP French armed forces minister Florence Parly with Reliance Group owner and chairman Anil Ambani (centre) and Éric Trappier (left), during the inauguration of the joint venture plant in Nagpur, October 27th 2017. © Money Sharma / AFP

    A judicial probe into suspected corruption has been opened in France over the 7.8-billion-euro sale to India in 2016 of 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter aircraft. In this latest of a series of investigations about the secret dealings behind the contract, Mediapart reveals how Dassault provided a remarkably generous financial gift to its local industrial partner Reliance Group, owned by Anil Ambani, a close friend of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  • Sarkozy-Libyan funding case: the bizarre inside story of attempted manipulation

    Nicolas Sarkozy on the news bulletin of TF1 television station, March 3rd 2021. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy on the news bulletin of TF1 television station, March 3rd 2021. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP

    In November 2020 Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the judicial investigation into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign, retracted his evidence. The apparent volte-face by a man who had previously said Nicolas Sarkozy had been corrupted by Libyan money in the affair was seized on by the former president's supporters as a turning point in the lengthy judicial saga. But Takieddine's retraction was not a genuine one. New legal documents seen by Mediapart – who originally broke the story of the alleged funding scandal - show the scale of the media manipulation used to help Nicolas Sarkozy. The former president's role in this is now at the heart of this part of the investigation. So, too, is the role played by the so-called 'queen of the paparazzi' Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand who is currently in custody in connection with the case. She has told detectives that her role in the affair was to: “Kill Mediapart”.  Fabrice ArfiKarl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

     

  • Sarkozy-Libya funding affair: paparazzi boss Michèle Marchand detained over alleged bail breach

    'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP 'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP

    French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians and confidante of presidents, has been taken into custody for breaching bail conditions. Earlier in June Marchand, nicknamed 'Mimi', was placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in relation to an aspect of the long-running investigation into suspected Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign. But she was subsequently released on bail. However, Mediapart has learnt from several sources that she was taken into detention on Friday June 18th for apparently breaching a condition of that bail. Fabrice ArfiKarl LaskeYann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

  • French paparazzi agency boss under investigation for witness tampering in Sarkozy-Libya funding affair

    Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP

    French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians, was on Saturday placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy. The move relates to the public retraction by a key witness of part of his previous testimony to a judicial probe that Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was funded by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • Rafale Papers: when Dassault middleman engaged a former Indian lieutenant general

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    Sushen Gupta, the Indian business intermediary paid several million euros for his role in helping French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation conclude its sale to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets, provided remunerations to a former high-ranking Indian army officer and his daughter via offshore companies, involving questionable services and invoices. The retired officer and his daughter insist nothing illegal took place. Yann Philippin reports.