Investigations

  • French judge accused of 'harassing' clerks and mocking defendants in court

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    A senior judge at Versailles, west of Paris, has been accused of harassing clerks of the court and mocking both defendants and victims in her court, Mediapart has learnt. However, despite a lengthy letter of complaint from the clerks' trade union, the judge's bosses have just given her a warning about her future conduct. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports.

  • Judge-led French probe starts into award of 2022 football World Cup to Qatar

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    Michel Platini and Nicolas Sarkozy at the Parc des Princes football stadium  in Paris for a PSG match on February 17th 2015. © Reuters Michel Platini and Nicolas Sarkozy at the Parc des Princes football stadium in Paris for a PSG match on February 17th 2015. © Reuters

    In June 2019 Michel Platini, the former head of European football's governing body UEFA, was interviewed by police as a witness over the circumstances of the award of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar. Two former colleagues of Nicolas Sarkozy were also questioned about a lunch hosted for Qatar's crown prince by the French president in 2010, attended by Platini, just days before the controversial vote to give the tournament to the oil and gas-rich state. Now the French financial crimes prosecution unit has launched a judicial investigation into the affair over alleged “corruption”, Mediapart has learnt. Former French football star Platini has strongly denied any wrongdoing. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

  • Revealed: Sarkozy aide received Libyan funds in secret offshore account

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    Left to right: newly elected Nicolas Sarkozy hosts Muammar Gaddafi in Paris; French-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine; Niolas Sarkozy's close allies Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Reuters/Document Mediapart Left to right: newly elected Nicolas Sarkozy hosts Muammar Gaddafi in Paris; French-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine; Niolas Sarkozy's close allies Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Reuters/Document Mediapart

    An investigation by Mediapart has confirmed that a longstanding close aide to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy received 440,000 euros in a secret offshore account paid from Libyan funds one year before the 2007 French presidential elections, casting further suspicion that Sarkozy’s successful bid was partly financed by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The money was transferred by a shell company belonging to a French-Lebanese intermediary who is central to the funding allegations, through which transited several millions of euros from the Tripoli regime. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Chelsea star Kanté in ‘sack your agent or he’ll be killed’ claim

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    N’Golo Kanté after France beat Uruguay in the quarter finals on their way to winning the World Cup in Russia in 2018. © Reuters N’Golo Kanté after France beat Uruguay in the quarter finals on their way to winning the World Cup in Russia in 2018. © Reuters

    In a recording obtained by Mediapart, an advisor to Chelsea star N'Golo Kanté admits putting pressure on the World Cup-winning French international footballer in 2017 over a dispute involving the sharing out of commissions linked to the player's move from Leicester City to the London club. The advisor says that his brother, who was also present, “perhaps” had a “gun” on him at the time of the discussion, in which deaths threats were allegedly made in relation to Kanté's agent. Yann Philippin and Matthieu Suc investigate a popular French player who has been the subject of a merciless fight between members of his entourage, a battle involving huge sums of money and offshore companies in Jersey.

  • How French police formed a 'war' unit to tackle 'yellow vest' protestors

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    Maria, aged, 19, five days after she was attacked by police officers in Marseille on December 8th 2018. © DR Maria, aged, 19, five days after she was attacked by police officers in Marseille on December 8th 2018. © DR

    Earlier this year Mediapart reported how a 19-year-old woman had her skull fractured by police in Marseille, southern France, as she lay on the ground during a day of demonstrations. The same investigation has now revealed the existence of a new hybrid police unit that was created to take on the so-called 'gilets jaunes' or 'yellow vest' protestors in France. These officers were not trained in public order policing yet the initiative was backed by a memo from the Ministry of the Interior and superior officers who considered that in a time of “war” anything and everything is permissible. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • French actress Adèle Haenel accuses filmmaker of 'sexual harassment' when a minor

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    Adèle Haenel. © Isabelle Eshraghi pour Mediapart Adèle Haenel. © Isabelle Eshraghi pour Mediapart

    Award-winning French actress Adèle Haenel has accused the prominent French filmmaker Christophe Ruggia of inappropriate “touching” and of “sexually harassing” her when she was aged between 12 and 15. Haenel, now aged 30, whose story is supported by numerous documents and witness accounts, describes the director's behaviour as “paedophilia”. In this lengthy investigation, Mediapart reveals the long journey the actress has undergone, from the period when it was “impossible” to speak out to the point when continuing to stay silent had become “unbearable”. In a written statement, Christophe Ruggia has “categorically” denied the claims. Marine Turchi reports.

  • The spies left out in the cold: the Brexit dilemma for Europe’s intelligence community

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    A mural by street artist Banksy close to Britain's signals intelligence agency GCHQ,in Cheltenham, England. © Reuters/Eddie Keogh A mural by street artist Banksy close to Britain's signals intelligence agency GCHQ,in Cheltenham, England. © Reuters/Eddie Keogh

    The British and French intelligence agencies are deeply concerned that their close bilateral cooperation, notably on counter-terrorism activity, remains intact after the UK leaves the European Union. But they are fearful of the consequences, especially in the case of a hard Brexit, when, the EU warns, “The UK will be disconnected from all EU networks, information systems and databases” concerned with police and judicial cooperation. Matthieu Suc reports.

  • The 8-million-euro loan via a UAE bank that saved Marine Le Pen's far-right party

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    Far-right leader Marine Le Pen in Paris on January 13th 2019. © Reuters Far-right leader Marine Le Pen in Paris on January 13th 2019. © Reuters

    The far-right Rassemblement National – the former Front National – was in serious financial difficulty after the Parliamentary and presidential elections in 2017 and was bailed out by a loan of 8 million euros. That loan, Mediapart can reveal, came from French businessman Laurent Foucher who has a range of commercial interests in Africa and who is close to Nicolas Sarkozy's former right-hand man Claude Guéant. The loan was transferred from a bank in the United Arab Emirates but questions still remain over the precise origin of the money. Karl Laske and Marine Turchi report.

  • Concern at lack of transparency over Lubrizol chemical plant blaze in France

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    The fire at the Lubrizol chemical plant at Rouen, northern France, September 26th 2019. © Reuters The fire at the Lubrizol chemical plant at Rouen, northern France, September 26th 2019. © Reuters

    The Lubrizol chemical factory at Rouen in northern France that caught fire on September 26th stores and produces products that are “very dangerous for the environment”, “irritants” and “noxious”, according to reports by the inspectorate in charge of overseeing potentially hazardous sites. In 2016 the inspectorate warned about the risk of the “creation of toxic substances” in the event of a fire. Jade Lindgaard examines the background to the chemical plant where local residents are alarmed about the risk of dangerous pollution.

  • How Qatar 'bought' the right to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships

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    A race during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3rd 2019 in Doha. © Reuters A race during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3rd 2019 in Doha. © Reuters

    Qatar promised 37.5 million dollars to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) just hours before it won the right to stage the 2019 World Athletics Championships was awarded. Some 4.5 million of this was due to be paid to the son of the IAAF president at the time, Papa Massata Diack. The IAAF says that in the end that money was never paid to Diack. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report on the background to the awarding of the prestigious event now taking place at Doha in Qatar –and where the athletes have been sweltering in the heat.