France's upper classes look upon housemaids and housekeepers from Portugal as the most honest of domestic staff and as “pearls who they must hold on to at all costs”. Yet behind the walls of these families' sumptuous properties there lurks another world; one in which class differences are very much alive. Mediapart has spoken to Portuguese maids and housekeepers working in the north of France and heard their stories of long hours, unrelenting toil and penny-pinching employers. Mickaël Correia reports.
In July Mediapart revealed that Rwandan colonel Aloys Ntiwiragabo, who is suspected of playing an important role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, was now living in Orléans in France. Now we can reveal that the former head of Rwandan military intelligence has been living here for at least 14 years. Yet, curiously, paperwork acknowledging his request for political asylum in France was only sent to him in February 2020. The fact that his asylum application has only been made recently raises questions about what Aloys Ntiwiragabo's status had been in the meantime - and whether he had received discreet support. Théo Englebert reports.
Over recent years there have been numerous cases of unaccompanied Vietnamese minors who have simply disappeared after arriving in France at the main Paris airport of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. Although supposed to be placed into the safe care of social services, the children are in fact led away by ruthless people traffickers, to be kept in conditions of slavery. This report was compiled in partnership with the journalistic collective Investigate Europe.
France's anti-terrorism prosecution authorities have opened a preliminary investigation for 'crimes against humanity' into Aloys Ntiwiragabo after Mediapart revealed that he was living in a quiet suburb of Orléans, a city 75 miles south-west of Paris. There had been an international search for the former head of military intelligence over his suspected role in the massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. Aloys Ntiwiragabo, now 72, also founded and led a criminal armed group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, which has been blamed for attacks in central Africa. But the Rwandan fugitive disappeared off the radar until Mediapart tracked him down. There are now questions over how France could have allowed him to enter the country and live here undetected. Théo Englebert reports.
Alex Held, who joined France's iconic fighting force in 2015, made a formal complaint in December 2019 following the unwanted physical advances of a superior. The former legionnaire, an American, is still seeing a psychiatrist and is taking anti-depressants as a result of his ordeal. The Legion insists that it has “heavily punished” the warrant officer concerned plus two others accused of having failed to raise the alarm. But the punishment administered is at the lower end of those available in a fighting force which sees itself as the “height of virility”. Sophie Boutboul reports.
Cédric Chouviat, aged 42, died after being arrested and held on the ground by police officers on January 3rd 2020 following a routine roadside check near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The latest evidence in the investigation, which has been seen by Mediapart and newspaper Libération, reveals not only the responsibility of the four arresting officers in the deliveryman's death, but also that of their colleagues and superior officers who became involved after the arrest. Pascale Pascariello reports.
French television star and producer Nagui was given a 100-million-euro three-year contract with public broadcaster France Télévisions, which is largely funded by a television licence paid by the general public, Mediapart can reveal. The revelation falls at a time when the public broadcaster has been forced to cut budgets and offer voluntary redundancies to save money, and will refuel debates about how much of the organisation's money should be spent on trying to keep its high-profile stars. The news that France Télévisions president Delphine Ernottee personally took charge of the negotiations also comes just days before a decision is due on whether she will reappointed when her own contract comes to an end. Michaël Hajdenberg and Antton Rouget report.
Mediapart and our partners in a Europe-wide investigation overseen by Lighthouse Reports have spoken to migrants employed as seasonal farm workers across the continent. In south-west France workers at farming group Fermes Larrère have made a formal complaint about their conditions to the workplace inspectorate the Inspection du Travail. They have spoken of gruelling, relentless shifts, poor housing conditions and verbal abuse. Tomas Statius reports.
Mediapart is publishing a series of recordings of police phone taps involving the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini. These extraordinary tapes, which date from 2013, reveal the de facto existence of a state within a state, where private and public interests became intertwined. The first series of judicially-approved recordings reveal how after leaving his intelligence post Squarcini, nicknamed 'La Squale' ('The Shark'), was asked by the French luxury goods group LVMH to “infiltrate” an independent magazine in order to spy on it. Neither Squarcini nor LVMH wanted to comment on the content of the tapes. Fabrice Arfi and Pascale Pascariello report.
Mediapart has seen a copy of the provisional report by France's audit body, the Cour des Comptes, into how the 833 million euros raised in donations to restore the famous Paris cathedral that caught fire in April 2019 are being spent. The report, which is still confidential, makes clear the watchdog's dismay that not all of the money – some of which comes from individual donors around the world - is being used solely for the reconstruction work. Various foundations are taking a cut in administrative fees and and even the state is getting a share of it. Pierre Januel reports.