Investigations

  • How French soldiers risk compromising their security on social networks

    By , Sébastien Bourdon and Antoine Schirer
     © Mediapart © Mediapart

    The French military has banned soldiers from posting sensitive information online. However, via a number of different apps Mediapart has managed to discover the profiles of more than 800 French troops deployed abroad and the profiles of more than 200 special forces soldiers. The military's general staff meanwhile is reluctant to discuss the precise measures that have been taken to contain a problem that could put the security of military personnel and their operations at risk, especially from terrorists who target French troops abroad. Justine Brabant and Sébastien Bourdon report.

  • Paris-based football star Ali Benarbia told to repay 4m euros in tax after claiming he lived in Qatar

    By and
    Ali Bernarbia was a member of the 'dream team' of football pundits on RMC Sport from 2010 to 2019. © RMC Sport Ali Bernarbia was a member of the 'dream team' of football pundits on RMC Sport from 2010 to 2019. © RMC Sport

    Ali Benarbia, the former Manchester City and Monaco player who became a prominent television sports pundit on French television and radio, has been told to pay back taxes of just under 4 million euros by the French tax authorities. Mediapart has learnt that the former Algerian international was paid via a fictitious company in Qatar and claimed to be living in the Middle Eastern country. In fact, he and his family were resident in Paris, tax investigators found. Yann Philippin and Matthieu Suc report.

  • The curious disappearance of Nicolas Sarkozy's official diaries

    By and
    Nicolas Sarkozy at Nice in May 2019. © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy at Nice in May 2019. © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

    When Nicolas Sarkozy was being questioned by judges over claims that his 2007 president election campaign was part-funded by the Libyan regime, he agreed to hand over his official diaries from that period. However, Mediapart understands that his lawyer has now told the judges that the former president is unable to provide any of them. This sudden about-face comes right in the middle of Nicolas Sarkozy's ongoing corruption trial, in which those very same diaries play a prominent role. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Former UEFA boss Michel Platini faces 'fraud' claims over 1.8m euro payment

    By
    Michel Platini in Bern, Switzerland, August 31st 2020. © Fabrice Coffrini / AFP Michel Platini in Bern, Switzerland, August 31st 2020. © Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

    Mediapart has learnt that the prosecution authorities in Switzerland are investigating the former French football star and ex-head of European football body UEFA Michel Platini for alleged fraud over a 1.8 million euro payment he received in 2011. That payment was made by Sepp Blatter, then head of world football's governing body FIFA, who also faces a similar probe. Yann Philippin reports.

  • Revealed: another shocking case of Paris police violence

    By and Armel Baudet
    CCTV images captured the illegal arrests of six innocent young men in April 2019, and the moment one officer fired at their vehicle (full video in the article page). CCTV images captured the illegal arrests of six innocent young men in April 2019, and the moment one officer fired at their vehicle (full video in the article page).

    As incidents of police violence and the failure of the authorities to effectively address the issue continue to occupy public debate in France, Mediapart reveals here, with video footage, the violent and illegal arrests in Paris of six innocent young men by gun-wielding officers, one of whom fired bullets into their car. In what has all the appearance of a cover-up, not only was one of the six victims sent for trial for violence, but the officer who shot at him without any justification is still on duty because, the police administration claimed, prosecutors concluded he acted in self-defence. Which is untrue. Pascale Pascariello and Armel Baudet report.

  • The Beirut mega-blast: a reconstruction of the timeline of an avoidable tragedy

    By Forensic Architecture and Mada Masr
    An image taken seconds before the mega-blast in the port of Beirut on August 4th 2020, as analysed by Forensic Architecture. © Forensic Architecture © FA An image taken seconds before the mega-blast in the port of Beirut on August 4th 2020, as analysed by Forensic Architecture. © Forensic Architecture © FA

    On August 4th this year, a huge explosion ripped through the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut and the surrounding city neighbourhoods, killing more than 200 people, wounding more than 6,500 others and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. It was so powerful that the shockwaves and tremors it caused were recorded hundreds of kilometres away. Now, London-based independent research group Forensic Architecture has produced a remarkable video report with 3D imaging, using documented evidence and expert input, to piece together a precise chronology of the multiple causes of the explosion, and which Mediapart presents here.

  • The French firms servicing UAE’s Mirage jets used in support of Libyan warlord

    By
    Two UAE Mirage fighters pictured at the Sidi Barrani base in Egypt on May 5th 2020. © Satellite image © 2020 Maxar Technologies Two UAE Mirage fighters pictured at the Sidi Barrani base in Egypt on May 5th 2020. © Satellite image © 2020 Maxar Technologies

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is actively involved in Libya’s civil war in support of warlord Khalifa Haftar’s campaign to topple the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli. That military support involves the deployment of the UAE’s French-built Mirage fighter planes, which are suspected of firing missiles at civilian sites, representing potential war crimes. Those same aircraft are given technical maintenance and upgrades by French defence firms acting with government approval, raising serious questions about France’s compliance with international law.

  • The former top cop at the Élysée and his links with the Corsican underworld

    By and Brendan Kemmet
    Screen grab of Lionel Lavergne during one of the hearings at the National Assembly into the Benalla affair. © DR Screen grab of Lionel Lavergne during one of the hearings at the National Assembly into the Benalla affair. © DR

    The name of senior gendarme officer Lionel Lavergne cropped up during an investigation into a Corsican 'mafia' godfather in 2014, Mediapart has learnt. Yet despite the astonishing contents of phone-taps in the case, that same year the gendarme was appointed number two in charge of protecting the president at the Élysée. When subsequently told by a senior official at the Élysée that he would not get promoted to the top post, Colonel Lavergne retorted: “You don't know who you are dealing with.” He later got the top post, working as head of Élysée security for presidents François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron from 2017 to 2019. Matthieu Suc and Brendan Kemmet report on the results of a Mediapart investigation that goes back five years.

  • Libyan funding of Sarkozy campaign: Takieddine retracts, the evidence remains

    By and
    Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Paris on December 10th 2007. © FRANCK FIFE / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Paris on December 10th 2007. © FRANCK FIFE / AFP

    Ziad Takieddine, the ruined businessman who is on the run after being convicted in a separate political corruption case in France, has told Paris Match magazine and BFM-TV news channel that there was “no Libyan funding” of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. This contradicts what he has previously told a judicial investigation into the affair and various media. But he maintains that he did hand over cash to Sarkozy's former chief of staff Claude Guéant. The former president himself immediately made clear his delight at Takieddine's retraction. Just a few days ago Sarkozy had described the middleman as a “madman” and a “manipulator”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • The grim inside story of how France struggled to deal with the Covid dead

    By Lou syrah
    A scene of mourning at Strasbourg, north-east France, November 1st 2020. © AFP A scene of mourning at Strasbourg, north-east France, November 1st 2020. © AFP

    A report from a French government department has highlighted the major problems that took place as the country dealt with the victims of the epidemic in the spring. These included the enforced cremations of some of those who died, and funeral staff being exposed to danger of infection. The document, seen by Mediapart, contains a number of recommendations about what the state should do in the future. But as Lou Syrah reports, there are fears that without swift action the authorities could face similar problems - and greater anger - during the second wave.