President Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Édouard Philippe in Paris in March 2018. © Reuters
It was an intervention from the office of France's prime minister Édouard Philippe which caused the opening of an investigation into the source of secret recordings involving a former presidential aide, Mediapart can reveal. This investigation then led to an attempt by prosecutors to search Mediapart's office – which Mediapart prevented, citing laws designed to protect its sources. The prosecution authorities, meanwhile, are remaining silent about the information they received which caused them to start the probe. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget, Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.
Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters
An investigation by Mediapart sheds dramatic new light on the affair involving Alexandre Benalla, who was a security aide to President Emmanuel Macron until he was sacked when video footage emerged showing that he had used violence against protestors at a demonstration. In particular recordings of Benalla talking to the former head of security for the ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, who also lost his job over the scandal, reveal details about a secret meeting that breached a judicial control order, about a security contract with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and Benalla's ongoing communications with President Macron. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.
The former CEO of Gucci, Patrizio Di Marco, with his wife Frida Giannini. © Reuters
The leading French luxury goods company Kering, owned by the ultra wealthy Pinault family, saved 39 million euros in tax by paying the former boss of its subsidiary Gucci via a company in Panama, according to documents obtained by Mediapart and shared with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). The French company also lied about its tax avoidance schemes to two separate investigations carried out by the French Senate. Yann Philippin investigates.
Cristiano Ronaldo arriving at court in Madrid, January22nd, with his fiancee Georgina Rodriguez. © Reuters
Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo was on Tuesday ordered to pay an 18.8 million-euro fine by a Madrid court and was handed a 23-month suspended jail sentence after admitting tax fraud amounting to almost 15 million euros between 2011 and 2014. The case followed the Football Leaks revelations published in December 2016 by Mediapart and its partners in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) media consortium. But the former Real Madrid striker, whose wealth is estimated at more than 200 million euros, in fact escaped a far heavier sentence with the falsification of a document concerning his offshore payments on image rights, which Mediapart reveals here.
CRS riot police with HKG36 assault rifles in central Paris on January 12th. © DR
A document obtained by Mediapart reveals that the national director of France’s CRS riot police ordered the deployment of Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles during nationwide demonstrations on January 12th by the ‘yellow vest’ movement. The militarisation of policing tactics during the recurrent demonstrations, in protest over falling living standards for low- and middle-income earners, includes an almost systematic use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused numerous serious injuries. Karl Laske reports on the arsenal employed and the dramatic consequences of the escalating violence.
Emmanuel Macron with bodyguard Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters
The scandal surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, who was fired over media revelations that he violently assaulted participants in May Day marches in Paris this year while illegally wearing police apparel, escalated this month after Mediapart’s revelations that he has continued to use a diplomatic passport while conducting business trips abroad, notably in Israel and several African countries. Now, in an exclusive interview with Mediapart, he claims to continue to regularly discuss ongoing political issues with Macron, despite the Élysée’s insistence that he has “no further contact” with the French president. Benalla, 27, says his mobile phone records provide the truth of his claims, while he also accuses Macron’s entourage as behaving like a “mafia” against him. Fabrice Arfi reports on the deepening mystery of Benalla’s relationship with the French president.
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.
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.
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.
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.