Investigations

  • Sarkozy-Libya affair: judges probe key middleman's network of influence

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    Middleman Alexandre Djouhri in London, where he is fighting against extradition to France. Middleman Alexandre Djouhri in London, where he is fighting against extradition to France.

    French detectives and judges investigating the financial links between former President Nicolas Sarkozy's entourage and the Libyan regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi are making progress in relation to a key figure in the affair. He is businessman Alexandre Djouhri, currently living in London, whom French judges are trying to extradite for questioning. His right-hand man, banker Wahib Nacer, was placed under formal investigation in the affair earlier this year. Fabrice Arfi reports on the latest judicial developments that are causing concern for the Sarkozy clan.

  • Corruption case whips up storm for ailing French maritime group Bourbon

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    Rough times ahead: a vessel from Bourbon's almost 500-strong fleet serving the oil and gas industry. © Bourbon Offshore Rough times ahead: a vessel from Bourbon's almost 500-strong fleet serving the oil and gas industry. © Bourbon Offshore

    French group Bourbon, a leading player in the field of maritime services and engineering support for the offshore oil and gas extraction industry which employs more than 8,000 people worldwide, is facing dire straits. Weighed down by heavy debts, its holding company was this month placed into receivership, while the group and members of its senior management have been sent for trial on charges of corrupting tax officials in Africa. Meanwhile, French junior minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who until joining government last October sat on the Bourbon board and presided over its audit committee, denies any responsibility in the group’s current woes. Antton Rouget reports.

  • Jeffrey Epstein and his French connection

    By and Laureen Ortiz
    A rare image of Jean-Luc Brunel, filmed by CBS in 1988. A rare image of Jean-Luc Brunel, filmed by CBS in 1988.

    The unravelling affairs of wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in a New York City prison on Saturday, have now crossed the Atlantic to France, where government ministers this week called for an investigation to ‘shed light’ on suspicions that the country also served as a base for his alleged sexual exploitation of underaged girls. In Paris, where Epstein owned a luxury apartment, prosecution services are conducting ‘verifications’ over the allegations. Meanwhile, veteran French model scout Jean-Luc Brunel is accused by one of Epstein’s victims of active complicity in the convicted sex offender’s alleged orgies with minors.

  • Revealed: former environment minister's fondness for ministerial cars

    François de Rugy, the environment minister and number two in the government who quit on Tuesday July 16th after revelations about his lifestyle and use of public money, employed ministerial chauffeur-driven cars for his own personal use, Mediapart can reveal. Several former government ministers have raised questions over de Rugy's apparently excessive use of such vehicles. Michel Deléan, Michaël Hajdenberg, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

  • French minister François de Rugy quits after revelations about lifestyle and expenses

    Environment minister François de Rugy has resigned from the government. © Reuters Environment minister François de Rugy has resigned from the government. © Reuters

    François de Rugy, the environment minister and number two in President Emmanuel Macron's government behind prime minister Édouard Philippe, resigned on Tuesday 16 July following a string of revelations by Mediapart about his lifestyle as a minister, including grand dinners paid for out of the public purse. De Rugy quit just as Mediapart was about to make fresh revelations about his use of expenses as an MP. Michaël Hajdenberg, Antton Rouget and Fabrice Arfi report.

  • Boss of top French football club PSG faces questions over commission for player's agent

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    In a confidential letter seen by Mediapart and the British daily newspaper The Guardian, the president of leading French football club PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, requested the payment of a 2-million-euro commission to the agent of Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore in relation to the latter's transfer. The request was apparently made on the instructions of the current Emir of Qatar. If carried out, such a payment appears to breach both French football transfer regulations and the law. A company run by Al-Khelaifi's brother also asked for 200,000 dollars in 'expenses' over the transfer. Yann Philippin reports.

  • How French minister and probity advocate enjoys the high life on public funds

    French environment minister François de Rugy and his wife Séverine. © Reuters French environment minister François de Rugy and his wife Séverine. © Reuters

    French environment minister François de Rugy, an outspoken campaigner for greater transparency in public office, is engulfed this week by Mediapart’s revelations of how he and his wife regularly organised grand dinner parties with fine wines and food provided for by the public purse, while also ordering the redecoration of their ministerial grace and favour apartment at a cost of more than 60,000 euros also paid for by public funds. His chief of staff has now been forced to resign after Mediapart also revealed this week how for 12 years she held on to an apartment allocated to her on subsidised rent by the Paris social housing department when she was in fact posted elsewhere in the country.

  • Health scandal over 'unprecedented' lead levels after Notre-Dame fire

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    Notre-Dame cathedral after the fire in April 2019. © Reuters Notre-Dame cathedral after the fire in April 2019. © Reuters

    Levels of lead concentration 400 to 700 times the maximum authorised limit have been detected in the ground inside and around Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris since the fire that destroyed it in April, according to confidential documents seen by Mediapart. Neither the regional health authority nor the Paris police authorities – who have carried out one of the tests - have passed on these results to people living near by or people working in contaminated areas. One reason for not doing so is apparently the fear of alarming people. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • France splashes out to deport Sri Lankans from Indian Ocean territory

    By Manuel Sanson (Le Poulpe.info)
    Mayotte, a French département in the Indian Ocean. © Reuters Mayotte, a French département in the Indian Ocean. © Reuters

    Authorities in Paris and on France's Indian Ocean overseas département of Mayotte seem set on deterring further Sri Lankan asylum seekers from coming to the impoverished archipelago. Even if, as a series of documents show, the cost to taxpayers of sending that message has been exorbitant. Manuel Sanson from investigative website Le Poulpe reports

  • The threat to France's fight against white collar crime and corruption

    Concerns have been raised privately within the French justice system about the involvement of the government and in particular the Élysée in picking the successor to Éliane Houlette as head of the country's national financial crimes prosecution unit, the Parquet National Financier (PNF). This is because the PNF is currently handling two investigations which are particularly sensitive for the presidency. One is into the Russian security contracts involving former Élysée security aide Alexandre Benalla. The other probe is into President Emmanuel Macron's chief of staff Alexis Kohler over an alleged conflict of interest. Fabrice Arfi, Michel Deléan and Antton Rouget report.