Beginning on April 4th, Mediapart has published a series of investigations into the circumstances of the 7.8-billion-euro sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets, which is clouded by suspicions of corruption on a large scale. In this short video with English subtitles, Yann Philippin explains the key results of Mediapart’s investigations into this most complex story.
Then French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (l) celebrates with Dassault CEO Dassault Aviation CEO Éric Trappier (c) the signing of the Rafale deal in September 2016. © Dassault Aviation
In this final report in a three-part investigation into the controversial sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, Mediapart reveals, with hitherto unpublished documents, how an influential Indian business intermediary was secretly paid millions of euros by Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation and French defence electronics firm Thales. They succeeded in removing anti-corruption clauses from the fighter contract which was subsequently signed by then French defence minister, now foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Yann Philippin reports.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor François Hollande at the Élysée Palace in September 2017. © Julien Mattia / NurPhoto via AFP
In this second of a three-part series of investigations into the controversial sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, Mediapart details how the then head of the French public prosecution services’ financial crimes branch, Éliane Houlette, shelved investigations into evidence of corruption behind the deal, despite the contrary opinion of her colleagues. France’s current president, Emmanuel Macron, and his predecessor, François Hollande, are cited in the allegations levelled in the case. Houlette has since justified her decision as preserving “the interests of France, the workings of institutions”. Yann Philippin reports.
French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on January 25th 2016 during a joint press conference with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and French president François Hollande. © Prakash Singh / AFP
In 2016 France and India signed a 7.8-billion-euro deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters made by French defence group Dassault. Mediapart can reveal that, alongside this controversial deal, Dassault also agreed to pay one million euros to a middleman who is now under investigation in India in connection with another defence deal. The French anti-corruption agency Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) discovered this separate arrangement during a routine audit of Dassault. The AFA nonetheless decided not to alert the prosecution authorities over the payment. This is the first part of Mediapart's investigation into a state scandal which also raises questions over the both the justice system and the political authorities. Yann Philippin reports.
The Judicial Court in Paris which is used to try terrorist cases; February 2021. © Jérôme Leblois / Hans Lucas via AFP
For the first time in a dozen years France's antiterrorist authorities are investigating an alleged terrorist plot by an 'ultra Left' group. In December nine people were arrested at various locations around France. Seven of them were subsequently placed under formal investigation on suspicion of plotting “violent action” against the forces of law and order. Five of them have been held in custody since then. Mediapart's Camille Polloni has spoken to the families and friends of some of those arrested about what they have gone through. Inevitably this new case brings with it reminders of the long-running 'Tarnac affair' in which after a decade of investigations and legal proceedings a group of left-wing activists accused of terrorist acts against French railway lines eventually saw all those charges dismissed.
Work began on the Eyüp Sultan mosque in Strasbourg in 2015 and is still continuing. © Guillaume Krempp/Rue89 Strasbourg
Councillors in Strasbourg have just voted through a 2.5 million euro grant to help build a new mosque in the city in north-east France, a region where unlike the rest of the country the law permits local authorities to fund religious buildings. However, the move by the Green-run council immediately attracted the ire of France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin because the group behind the mosque, Confédération Islamique Milli Görüs (CIMG), is a Franco-Turkish association which has refused to sign the government's new “charter of principles” for Islam in France. The minister, who is championing the government's new law against 'separatism', is now threatening legal action. Report by Guillaume Krempp and Jean-François Gérard of Mediapart's partners in the city, Rue 89 Strasbourg.
Screenshots of photos posted by soldiers on social media showing Nazi salutes. © Mediapart
An investigation by Mediapart revealing the existence of neo-Nazi sympathisers among French military personnel has prompted the armed forces minister and France’s chief of defence staff to promise a crackdown on extremists within the ranks. The investigation, detailed here, identified 50 members of the French armed forces, many of who brazenly posted photos and videos on social media illustrating their admiration of Nazi ideology. Sébastien Bourdon, Justine Brabant and Matthieu Suc report.
Students gather in a protest in front of the entrance to the Grenoble Sciences Po school on March 9th. © PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP
A national controversy blew up in France earlier this month over a ‘naming and shaming’ campaign by students at a political sciences school who accused two of their teachers of Islamophobia, prompting police protection for the pair. While there has been widespread political and media condemnation of the students’ campaign, this investigation by Mediapart found that the case is far more complex than so far presented, and that the controversy was fanned by the timidity of the school's management to intervene in a simmering dispute within its walls. David Perrotin reports.
A French atmospheric nuclear bomb test above the Murorura atoll in 1971. © AFP
Beginning in 1966, France carried out close to 200 nuclear tests at its South Pacific territory of French Polynesia, 15,000 kilometres from Paris. The most contaminating were the nuclear bombs exploded in the atmosphere. This report from a series of investigations by Mediapart's editorial partner Disclose presents the extent of the radioactive fallout from one of those bombs in the Polynesian island of Tahiti, a hidden nuclear disaster that is estimated to have exposed 110,000 inhabitants to alarming levels of radioactivity.
Businessman Vincent Bolloré. © Eric Piermont / AFP
The businessman had negotiated a deal with the French financial prosecution unit, the Parquet National Financier, under the terms of which he would have only received a fine of 375,000 euros over a corruption case in West Africa. But on Friday February 26th a court in Paris rejected the plea bargain agreement, ruling that it was too favourable to Vincent Bolloré, whose group has a string of economic interests in African countries. Fabrice Arfi and Yann Philippin report