Investigations

  • Disgraced Macron security aide has diplomatic passport

    By and
    Alexandre Benalla standing behind Emmanuel Macron when he served as the president's bodyguard. © Photo d'archives/REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer Alexandre Benalla standing behind Emmanuel Macron when he served as the president's bodyguard. © Photo d'archives/REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

    Alexandre Benalla, the disgraced former personal security advisor and deputy cabinet chief to President Emmanuel Macron, who was dismissed from his post this summer after it was revealed he assaulted May Day marchers in Paris while wearing police insignia, has continued to travel in possession of a French diplomatic passport and notably during recent business trips to Israel and several African countries, Mediapart has learnt. The passport, valid for four years, was delivered to him on May 24th, three weeks after the May Day events for which he is now placed by magistrates under formal investigation. Fabrice Arfi and Antton Rouget report.

  • The strange alliance between former allies of Macron and Sarkozy

    By
    Clockwise from top left: Emmanuel Macron, Nicolas Sarkozy, Alexandre Djouhri and Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters Clockwise from top left: Emmanuel Macron, Nicolas Sarkozy, Alexandre Djouhri and Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters

    In recent weeks the current French president Emmanuel Macron has deepened his ties with former rightwing president Nicolas Sarkozy. The latter recently represented France at a ceremony in Georgia and the pair have lunched together. But by a curious coincidence two of their former allies, each of them facing judicial investigations in France, have also been meeting. They are Alexandre Benalla, President Macron's former security advisor who caused a scandal over the summer after he was filmed using violence against protestors in Paris on May 1st, and Alexandre Djouhri, a businessman and middleman who was close to Nicolas Sarkozy and who is awaiting extradition to France as part of the investigation into Libyan funding of Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. Fabrice Arfi reports.

  • Russian link to key figure in Macron security advisor scandal

    By , , and Anastasia KiRILENKO
    Alexandre Benalla right, and Vincent Crase, left, in Paris, on May 1st 2018. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla right, and Vincent Crase, left, in Paris, on May 1st 2018. © Reuters

    An oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and suspected by several European judges of being linked to the Russian mafia, paid money to the company of a key figure in the scandal involving President Emmanuel Macron's former security advisor Alexandre Benalla. A payment of almost 300,000 euros was made to the company of gendarme reservist Vincent Crase in June 2018, at a time when the latter was still employed by the French president's party La République en Marche as the deputy 'security and safety' manager. Crase was with Alexandre Benalla when Macron's security advisor was caught on video using violence against demonstrators on May 1st 2018 in a scandal that rocked the French presidency over the summer. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget, Marine Turchi and Anastasia Kirilenko report.

  • Five more women accuse Luc Besson of sexual misconduct

    By and Geoffrey Le Guilcher
    French producer and director Luc Besson, February 17th 2018. © Reuters French producer and director Luc Besson, February 17th 2018. © Reuters

    Following Mediapart’s revelations in July of the accounts of four women who accuse French filmmaker Luc Besson of sexual misconduct, five more women have now come forward with new allegations against him of inappropriate sexual behaviour and which are detailed in this report. Besson, 59, the celebrated producer and director behind blockbuster films that notably include 'Nikita', ‘The Big Blue’, 'Leon', ‘The Fifth Element’ and 'Lucy', is the subject of a formal complaint for rape filed in France earlier this year by Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy, an accusation that the filmmaker firmly denies.

  • How French foreign minister Le Drian lied over Khashoggi affair

    Yves Le Drian and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April 2018. © Reuters Yves Le Drian and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April 2018. © Reuters

    On November 12th, 2018, Jean-Yves Le Drian insisted on French television that he was not aware of evidence supplied by Turkey regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi killers. Yet no fewer than seven French diplomats and intelligence agents have contradicted this claim by France's foreign minister. Thomas Cantaloube, Lucie Delaporte, René Backmann, Nicolas Cheviron, Matthieu Suc and Rachida El Azzouzi investigate.

  • How Qatar used an anti-corruption organisation to spy on its rivals

    By , Mathieu Martiniere and Robert Schmidt (We Report)
    Mohammed Hanzab, president of the ICSS, based in Doha, Qatar. © ICSS Mohammed Hanzab, president of the ICSS, based in Doha, Qatar. © ICSS

    In just a few years the International Centre for Sport Security, an NGO based in Doha, has made a name for itself in the global fight against corruption in sport. But Football Leaks reveals a hidden side to this organisation which is funded by the Qatari state and which works with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Sorbonne University in Paris. In April 2015 former police officers working for the ICSS went to Lausanne to tail one of the key figures in world sport, the Kuwaiti sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Mediapart's Antton Rouget and Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt from independent journalistic collective We Report investigate.

  • Vadim Vasilyev – the 'Mr 10%' at AS Monaco football club

    By and Michel Henry
    capture-d-e-cran-2018-11-20-a-01-29-21

    The vice-president and CEO of AS Monaco receives 10% of the profits made on the sale of players by the French football club, according to evidence from Football Leaks documents. Vadim Vasilyev, who is a close ally of club owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, is in line to receive up to 41 million euros in total from player transfers over the last five seasons.

  • The doubtful 'private' contracts issued by AS Monaco

    By and Michel Henry
    "Not allowed to pay more than 10% on agents' commissions? Just  give me 200,000 euros as a scout for players in Africa". © Ulys "Not allowed to pay more than 10% on agents' commissions? Just give me 200,000 euros as a scout for players in Africa". © Ulys

    In order to get around the financial regulations imposed by France’s Professional Football League, which is responsible for managing and overseeing the proper conduct of clubs in the country’s top two football divisions, AS Monaco developed a system of private agreements, which are legally uncertified deals, with players and their agents. The scheme involved not only agent’s commissions disguised as so-called “scouting agreements” but also, the evidence from Football Leaks documents suggest, a friendly match that was never played between AS Monaco and Manchester United about which neither club agreed to comment upon.

  • When 'friend' of Monaco's prince touted to Nike his influence with the IAAF

    By and Michel Henry

    An individual close to Prince Albert II of Monaco received a hefty commission after sportswear company Nike signed a sponsorship contract with football club AS Monaco. According to documents consulted by Mediapart, during the negotiations the intermediary suggested that the prince, a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations, would “lend his support” for the candidature of the Oregon state city of Eugene, with which Nike is closely associated, to host the world athletics championship. Which it will, in 2021. Prince Albert firmly denies giving "any voting instructions".

  • How oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev's aides plotted his wife's arrest in Cyprus

    By and Michel Henry
    Elena Rybolovleva's petition  for 'the most expensive divorce in history' was a high-stakes battle over Dmitry Rybolovlev's immense fortune. © Ulys Elena Rybolovleva's petition for 'the most expensive divorce in history' was a high-stakes battle over Dmitry Rybolovlev's immense fortune. © Ulys

    In 2014, at the height of a bitter divorce battle with his wife of 23 years, Elena Rybolovleva, Russian multi-billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev organised the arrest of his wife when she travelled to Cyprus, where much of his fortune is placed, to discuss a settlement with him. The oligarch is close to high-ranking figures in Cyprus, and the circumstances of the arrest were, at the very least, highly unusual, while confidential messages swapped at the time by Rybolovlev’s aides spoke of secret meetings with a man called “our friend”, and a “president”. In this third report in a seven-part series of investigations into the oligarch’s activities, Mediapart unveils the disturbing background to Elena Rybolovleva’s arrest.