The former top cop at the Élysée and his links with the Corsican underworldScreen 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 remainsNicolas 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 deadA 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.
Revealed: the violence of a French police unit and how they tried to conceal itOfficers from the CSI 93 police unit at Saint-Ouen north of Paris on April 2nd 2020 . © Ludovic Marin / AFP
A suspect detained by a group of French police officers north of Paris was kicked in the head, tasered and had excrement smeared on his jacket even though he was restrained at the time. Mediapart is publishing extracts from a report by the police watchdog which showed the scale of the violence meted out by the officers as well as the efforts they made to cover up their acts. Yet as Pascale Pascariello reports, only one of the five officers involved is due to face the courts over their actions.
The air pollution threat posed by Paris's 2024 Olympic Games preparationsThe Pleyel à Venir collective, who are opposed to the new works, took part in the public inquiry in Paris in June 2019. © JL
In readiness for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris the authorities are building a new motorway junction to service the Olympic Village for athletes. However, this busy junction at Saint-Denis, north of Paris, is close to a school complex for 700 pupils. French administrative courts have just approved the project, despite the fact that, as documents seen by Mediapart show, the junction is likely to worsen air pollution in the area. Opponents meanwhile point to anti-pollution measures taken outside schools in the centre of the capital and claim that pupils in the city's rundown suburbs are being discriminated against. Jade Lindgaard reports.
Libyan funding case: what Sarkozy told the judgesLeft to right: Claude Guéant, Nicolas Sarkozy and Brice Hortefeux in June 2005. © PASCAL PAVANI / AFP
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was subjected to four days of questioning earlier this month by judges leading a complex investigation into evidence of Libyan funding of his 2007 election campaign, at the end of which he was formally placed under investigation for “criminal conspiracy”. Mediapart has obtained access to the transcripts of the interrogation, during which he insisted on his innocence and laid responsibility for any wrongdoing on his two longstanding, loyal right-hand men, Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, describing their dealings with Libya and intermediaries as, variously, “incomprehensible”, an “error” and a “mistake”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
The MEPs shaping the Common Agricultural Policy and receiving its handoutsMEPs in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, September 16th 2020. © AFP
Among the Members of the European Parliament are a group of farmers and others with agricultural interests who benefit directly from the subsidies provided for in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The fact that many of them are at the forefront of negotiations to map out the reform of the CAP, to be put to a vote during this week, raises a clear question of conflicts of interest. Amélie Poinssot reports.
The online radicalisation of terrorist who decapitated teacher near ParisA demonstration showing solidarity with murdered teacher Samuel Paty, held at Rennes in west France on Saturday October 17th. © Bertrand Guay/AFP
A few minutes after the horrific murder of Samuel Paty near Paris, his attacker Abdoullakh Abouyezidovitch A. posted a photo of the history teacher's head on his Twitter account. Mediapart can reveal that at the end of August the 18-year-old Russian-born Chechen had also posted a photomontage of a mock decapitation. It has also emerged that several people had flagged the youth's Twitter account to the authorities in recent months. Matthieu Suc reports.
Nicolas Sarkozy placed under investigation for 'conspiracy' over Libyan funding claimsLeft to right: Brice Hortefeux, Claude Guéant, Thierry Gaubert, Nicolas Sarkozy, Muammar Gaddafi, Gaddafi's banker Bashir Saleh and Abdullah Senussi. © Simon Toupet / Mediapart. Photos : AFP / capture d'écran France 2.
The decision by judges to place the former president under formal investigation – one step short of charges being brought – relates to claims that his 2007 presidential campaign was financed in part by the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In 2018 Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation in relation to the same inquiry for “illicit funding of an electoral campaign”, “receiving and embezzling public funds” and “passive corruption”. This new move by investigating judges means that for the first time a former head of state in France formally faces claims of “criminal conspiracy”. The ex-president denies any wrongdoing. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on the latest developments in the long-running investigation.
Sons of former French PM face probe over hidden Swiss cashFormer prime minister Raymond Barre in October 2006, at a conference held by Crédit Agricole bank's national federation. © Bruno FERRANDEZ / AFP
The late Raymond Barre was one of the best-known prime ministers of France's Fifth Republic and was publicly lauded by a president as one of the country's best economists. He was also forever associated with austerity and budget cuts during the difficult economic years of the late 1970s and spoke of the need of French people to pay their taxes. Now his two sons, Olivier and Nicolas Barre, have been placed under formal investigation over the “laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud” as part of a probe by French prosecutors into a stash of money that was hidden in a Swiss bank account by their father. Antton Rouget reports.