Investigations

  • How French foreign minister Catherine Colonna was appointed despite 'bullying' alerts

    By
    Catherine Colonna when she was French ambassador to Italy, in her office in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome on December 12th 2014. © Photo Eric Vandeville / Abaca Catherine Colonna when she was French ambassador to Italy, in her office in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome on December 12th 2014. © Photo Eric Vandeville / Abaca

    Alerts concerning the new French foreign minister's behaviour were sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' dedicated 'zero tolerance' anti-bullying unit at the start of 2022, a few months before she was appointed, according to Mediapart's information. An inspection by the ministry's internal inspectorate was due to be carried out at the French embassy in London where Catherine Colonna was ambassador at the time. That review has since been postponed. Ellen Salvi reports.

  • French minister Damien Abad faces new claims of sexual violence

    By and
    Damien Abad at the first meeting of ministers in Élisabeth Borne's new government at the Élysée, May 23rd 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Damien Abad at the first meeting of ministers in Élisabeth Borne's new government at the Élysée, May 23rd 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    The new minister for solidarity and the disabled has been accused of rape by two women, claims he has strongly denied. Now Mediapart has spoken to a third woman who says that he tried to rape her at a party at his home in Paris in 2010. Damien Abad, who was appointed to the new government under Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne on May 20th this year, did not directly respond to Mediapart's questions about these latest allegations but has “categorically” denied them in a statement. Meanwhile the issue has dogged the final days of the legislative election campaign ahead of the crucial second round of voting on Sunday June 19th. Marine Turchi and Ellen Salvi report.

  • Haiti: the dark history of French colonial banks resurfaces

    By
    The Banque nationale d’Haïti (National Bank of Haiti) in Port-au-Prince, pictured in 1910. © Archives The Banque nationale d’Haïti (National Bank of Haiti) in Port-au-Prince, pictured in 1910. © Archives

    In its recent powerful investigation into the exploitation of Haiti by France in the colonial past, The New York Times highlighted the predatory role played by the bank Crédit Industriel et Commercial. In fact, reports Laurent Mauduit, all French colonial banks practiced this same pillaging system of exploitation in Asia, Africa and the Antilles.

  • Revealed: De Gaulle knew facts of 1961 Paris police massacre of Algerians but failed to punish perpetrators

    By
    A report on the October 17th 1961 massacre sent to Charles de Gaulle, and his hand-written response. © Archives nationales A report on the October 17th 1961 massacre sent to Charles de Gaulle, and his hand-written response. © Archives nationales

    Documents unearthed by Mediapart in France’s national archives, and never before published, reveal that the true horrific extent of the covered-up massacre by police of Algerian demonstrators in Paris on the night of October 17th 1961 was very quickly made known to then president Charles de Gaulle and his advisors. They show that de Gaulle had instructed in writing that those who perpetrated the crimes be brought to justice. But in the end, no-one would ever be prosecuted over the slaughter, which historians have estimated claimed the lives of several hundred people, many of who drowned in the River Seine. Fabrice Arfi reports. 

  • General Electric’s scheme to avoid millions of euros in taxes in France

    By Filippo Ortona (Disclose)
    The General Electric plant in Belfort, north-east France. © Photo Sébastien Bozon / AFP The General Electric plant in Belfort, north-east France. © Photo Sébastien Bozon / AFP

    Following its purchase in 2015 of the power branch of French engineering firm Alstom, General Electric put in place a vast tax avoidance scheme involving subsidiaries in Switzerland and the US state of Delaware to syphon off hundreds of millions of euros that would otherwise have been subject to taxes in France, according to an investigation by Mediapart’s online partner newsroom Disclose. What’s more, the scheme appears to have had the blessing of the French economy and finance ministry.

  • More details emerge of witness tampering plot to undermine Sarkozy-Libya funding probe

    By and
    From left: Michèle Marchand, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy, Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart From left: Michèle Marchand, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy, Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    An ongoing French judicial investigation into “witness tampering” centres on a secret operation in late 2020 to successfully convince a key witness in the probe into suspected Libyan funding of Nicola Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign, business intermediary Ziad Takieddine, to publicly retract his statements detailing the illicit funding. Mediapart has gained access to emerging evidence in the witness tampering case, and which throws further light on the links between members of the disparate group behind the operation and the former president’s entourage. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.

  • French government faces questions over rape claims against minister Damien Abad

    By
    Damian Abad during the ceremony in which he took over as the minister for solidarity and the disabled, May 20th 2022. © Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP Damian Abad during the ceremony in which he took over as the minister for solidarity and the disabled, May 20th 2022. © Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

    On May 21st Mediapart published an investigation based on allegations from two women that they were raped by the new minister for solidarity and the disabled, Damien Abad. Mediapart also revealed that the claims had been reported to the ruling La République en Marche (LREM) party on May 16th, four days before Abad was appointed to the new government. Since the revelations members of the LREM have struggled to justify the appointment of Abad, who strongly denies the claims. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne says she was “not aware” of the allegations in advance. Marine Turchi reports.

  • Sarkozy-Gaddafi election funding probe closes in on Airbus payments

    By and

    A former executive of European aerospace giant Airbus has been placed under investigation for alleged corruption, criminal conspiracy and money laundering by French magistrates probing the suspected illegal funding of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The move centres on secret payments made to a business intermediary close to the former French president. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • The growing fears over France's teenage neo-Nazis

    By and
    'Nicolas' in one of the many images of him with guns. © Document Mediapart 'Nicolas' in one of the many images of him with guns. © Document Mediapart

    A number of ultra-right terrorism cases in France in recent years have featured teenagers, a trend that is worrying the French authorities. In many cases youngsters are being recruited by groups from forums linked to online video games. Mediapart here reveals the case of a small ultra-right group whose 16-year-old leader and two associates were recently arrested. Sébastien Bourdon and Matthieu Suc report.

  • EU probe accuses Marine Le Pen of 137,000-euro fraud of public funds

    By and
    Marine Le Pen during an election campaign press conference in Vernon, Normandy, on April 12th. © Photo Thomas Samson / AFP Marine Le Pen during an election campaign press conference in Vernon, Normandy, on April 12th. © Photo Thomas Samson / AFP

    A report by the European Union’s anti-fraud agency OLAF, now passed on to the French public prosecution services, accuses Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate who will face Emmanuel Macron in this month’s presidential election final round, of the fraudulent misuse of 137,000 euros of public funds she received from the European Parliament when she was an MEP, Mediapart can reveal. Other individuals close to her are also accused by OLAF of defrauding the parliament. Marine Turchi and Fabrice Arfi report.