Sexual violence and harassment at work: the allegations of McDonald's staff in FranceThe Saint-Barthélémy McDonald’s branch at Marseille in southern France was the scene of an industrial struggle by staff against the giant multinational. On October 18th 2018 workers were protesting in front of the restaurant and were already complaining about the violence of the 'McDo' system. BORIS HORVAT / AFP
Mediapart and the website StreetPress have spent several months investigating the management of McDonald's branches in France. We have compiled a total of 78 testimonies from staff who describe a workplace in which sexist, racist and homophobic comments often feature, and even in some cases sexual assaults. The restaurant chain has been accused of turning a blind eye to the problem. It says that non-discrimination is a “cornerstone” of the chain's values. Khedidja Zerouali reports.
The failings of France's ambulance service during Covid crisisAn ambulance call centre in Paris. © AFP
Documents obtained by Mediapart show that during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year France's ambulance service SAMU was slow to help some patients in urgent need of treatment because it was deluged with emergency calls. This organisational problem in turn led to reduced survival chances for some patients. Health experts fear that the ambulance service has not learnt the lessons from the springtime Covid crisis and that the same problems could reoccur during a second wave of the epidemic this autumn. Pascale Pascariello reports.
French Christian NGO's links to pro-Assad Syrian militiaSOS Chrétiens d’Orient's former head of mission Alexandre Goodarzy (in blue and topless) and its co-founder Benjamin Blanchard (in orange) posing in a Syrian house with a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov and machine guns. © Document Mediapart
French Catholic association SOS Chrétiens d’Orient (SOS Christians of the Orient) claims to help Christians in Syria without interfering in the conflict that for nine years has been tearing the country apart. But as an investigation for Mediapart has already shown, it has forged close relations with bodies and people supporting the Damascus regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. And as this second investigation reveals, the NGO - which for several years has been a 'National Defence Partner' of France's Ministry of Armed Forces – also supports pro-Assad militia.
French justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti faces legal complaint over conflict of interestJustice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, September 24th, 2020. © Alain JOCARD / AFP
An anti-corruption activist has lodged a formal complaint against France's new justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, accusing the latter of an unlawful conflict of interest. The complaint has been made to the Cour de Justice de la République, a special court which deals with allegations of unlawful actions by ministers in the course of their official duties. The move follows a call by the justice minister for three prosecutors from the country's financial crimes prosecution unit to face disciplinary action. This is despite the fact that just a few weeks ago Dupond-Moretti, then a barrister, had made a formal complaint against those very same prosecutors. Fabrice Arfi and Michel Deléan report
French NGO 'Christians of the Orient' and its ties with the Assad regime'Believe in Aleppo', a 2017 PR stunt in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo, organised by the Damascus authorities with the help of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient. © DR
French association SOS Chrétiens d’Orient (SOS Christians of the Orient) is a self-declared "apolitical" not-for-profit NGO, which sends volunteers and staff across the Middle East with the stated aim of supporting the region’s persecuted Christians, notably in Syria. But, as this investigation for Mediapart reveals, its links with the French far-right and its close relations with bodies and people supporting the Damascus regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad raise disturbing questions about its mission.
France's ambassador to Ivory Coast accused of sexual harassmentAmbassador Gilles Huberson, left, with the French and Ivory Coast ministers of the interior at Abidjan in May 2019. © ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP
France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an internal inquiry into Gilles Huberson, ambassador to Ivory Coast, after several women accused him of sexist and sexual violence, Mediapart has learnt. Huberson, who occupies one of France's most prestigious diplomatic postings in Africa, is reported to have returned to Paris, even though Ivory Coast faces an important and potentially tense election in less than two months. Michel Pauron reports.
French prosecutors seek access to Football Leaks whistleblower Rui Pinto's secret filesRui Pinto has been living under police protection since August; his trial in Portugal began on September 4th. © Sonja Och / Der Spiegel
The French financial crimes prosecution unit the Parquet National Financier (PNF) has written to the Portuguese authorities asking to question the Football Leaks whistleblower Rui Pinto. They also want full access to the 70 million or so confidential documents that he has obtained on the world of professional football. Pinto is currently on trial in Portugal charged with computer hacking, violation of private correspondence and attempted blackmail, which together carry a possible jail term of 25 years. The move by the French prosecutors is good news for Pinto, however, as it supports his claim that his sole motive was to expose corruption and fraud in the sport. Yann Philippin reports.
French PM Jean Castex: mystery of legal probe dropped three days after his appointment
Photographs obtained by Mediapart appear to undermine claims by Jean Castex concerning a criminal investigation that was abruptly halted just three days after he was appointed as France's new prime minister. Castex, who until he was named premier on July 3rd had been mayor of the southern French town of Prades and president of a local group of municipal councils, said that the judicial probe – which is into the handling of rubbish disposal in that area - did not target him in any way. Yet the photographs show that his local authority was directly involved in the waste handling process which was at the heart of that investigation. Antton Rouget reports.
Mystery of why disgraced ex-Élysée aide Benalla secretly met African leader with key Macron allyAlexandre Benalla and Emmanuel Macron at Le Touquet in northern France in June 2017. © Philippe Wojazer / Reuters
Despite claims from the Élysée that Emmanuel Macron's former security aide no longer has any links with the presidency, Alexandre Benalla held a secret meeting with an African head of state in the company of a current member of the president's inner circle, Mediapart can reveal. At the end of May 2020 Benalla – who was sacked from the Élysée in July 2018 after being filmed beating up protesters in Paris - met with the new president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, along with Élysée aide Ludovic Chaker. Chaker is a former soldier who was the first secretary general of Macron's political movement En Marche! in 2016, and a significant figure in the president's entourage. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.
The Paris attacks trial and the three who slipped awayHayat Boumeddiene, wife of one of the perpetrators of the January 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. © DR
The trial in Paris of 14 people accused of complicity in the separate January 2015 terrorist attacks in the French capital against Charlie Hebdo magazine, a kosher store, and a policewoman, which left 17 victims dead, opened on Wednesday. Absent from the hearings are three defendants whose fate or eventual whereabouts is unknown. In this second of a two-part report, Matthieu Suc details the story of how the three got away, and the evidence that at least one of them is alive and hiding from justice in the Middle East.