Investigations

  • Exposing the real fraud behind 'welfare-dependent France'

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    Welfare benefit fraud is currently a regular headline topic in the French media, and the ruling UMP conservative right party has made it a campaign issue for next year's presidential and legislative elections. But are France's welfare-dependent, dismissevely described as 'les assistés', really Europe's champion scroungers, as some pretend? Mathieu Magnaudeix argues here, figures in hand, why the issue is a political smokescreen that ignores both the facts and the massive cost of tax fraud and evasion by the well-off.

  • FFF turned deaf ear to French football race quota whistleblower

     © dr © dr

    French Football Federation (FFF) technical advisor Mohamed Belkacemi (photo) has said he was the person who recorded a November 2010 meeting of the federation's National Technical Board in which a plan to introduce ethnic quotas at the federation's football training academies was detailed, as exclusively revealed by Mediapart last week. While FFF chiefs have expressed surprise at the revelations, now the subject of separate internal and ministerial enquiries, Mediapart has now learnt that Belkacemi last autumn alerted a senior FFF official about the plan by handing him a copy of the recording just days after the meeting.

  • French football ethnic quota plan: the verbatim record of the closed-door discussions

    The French Football Federation's national technical director François Blaquart was suspended from his post on Staurday, following Mediapart's revelations that he and members of the technical board (DTN), including France coach Laurent Blanc, discussed a secret plan for an ethnic quota limiting the number of black and Arab youths entering its training academies. Blaquart and Blanc have denied the existence of such a plan. Mediapart exclusively reveals here a transcription of the high-level, closed-door meeting when the quotas were debated by Blanc, Blaquart and other leading figures of French football, which include the following, separate quotes:

    National technical director François Blaquart: "We could trace, on a non-spoken basis, a sort of quota. But it must not be said. It stays as action only."

    U21 year-olds Espoirs team coach Erick Mombaerts: "There are clubs like Lyon who do it in their training academies. They do it systematically.[...] they can't stand it anymore."

    France coach Laurent Blanc: "I'm going to give you the example of the Spanish. They don't have these problems [...] The Spanish, they told me ‘we don't have a problem. Us, we don't have any blacks'."

  • Exclusive: French football chiefs' secret plan to whiten 'les Bleus'

    Laurent Blanc. © (Reuters) Laurent Blanc. © (Reuters)

    Members of the French Football Federation's National Technical Board, including the France team coach Laurent Blanc (pictured), have secretly elaborated a plan to impose quotas on the number of young black players and those of North African origin among the country's youth training centres which groom potential candidates for the national team, Mediapart can reveal in this exclusive investigation.

  • Revealed: the inflationary payroll at 'cost-cutting' French Senate

    French Senate president Gérard Larcher entered office on a high-profile campaign to cut spending and impose budgetary discipline within the French parliament's notoriously lavish upper house. Mediapart this month obtained access to the payroll of the president's private staff, and it reveals anything but austerity. The average monthly salary is 8,500 euros while his principal private secretary earns more than 19,000 euros, just a few hundred euros short of the pay of French Prime Minister François Fillon. Mathilde Mathieu and Michaël Hajdenberg report.

  • The sting in the tale of Tapie and the Crédit Lyonnais payout

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     © Mediapart © Mediapart

    The controversy over the 403 million euros of public funds awarded in 2008 to French businessman Bernard Tapie in his dispute with French bank Crédit Lyonnais returned to the fore this month, lighting a fuse to a series of scandals-within-the-scandal. Laurent Mauduit reports.

  • From ‘honeymoon’ to war: what US cables said about French courtship of Gaddafi

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    25 juillet 2007, Tripoli © Reuters 25 juillet 2007, Tripoli © Reuters

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy has assumed a high profile in the international military offensive launched to support the rebellion against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. But US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, and published here by Mediapart, shed a revealing light upon previously sweet relations between Sarkozy and Gaddafi (photo), described by one American ambassador as a "honeymoon" period of "high hopes for lucrative contracts".

  • When France protected on-the-run Balkan war lords

    Ante Gotovina. © (dr) Ante Gotovina. © (dr)

    Mediapart has obtained access to secret notes belonging to a now-retired senior French intelligence officer which establish how for years the French secret services collaborated with suspected war criminals, military officers from the former Yugoslavia, while they were wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) based in The Hague. Among them was Croatian General Ante Gotovina (photo), finally captured in the Canary Islands in 2005, as revealed in this investigation by Jean-Arnault Dérens and Laurent Gesli.

  • Poor and powerless: the Paris suburb where slumlords rule the roost

    The privately-owned, 1960s-built ‘Chêne Pointu' housing estate (photo) in the run-down Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois contains 1,500 apartments. Slumlords rule the roost here, where more than two-thirds of inhabitants live below the poverty line and insalubrious, overcrowded flats are rented, room by room, for as much as 1,800 euros per month. The local authorities complain that they are largely powerless to combat the blatantly illegal practices. Edouard Zambeaux investigates.
  • How France's struggling press sinks 1 billion euros in subsidies

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    The French press industry receives a staggering one billion euros annually in State aid, amounting to a "fiasco" and a "scandal" according to a government-commissioned study. Now newspaper publishers are under pressure to restructure or die before the tap runs dry. But, as David Medioni and Vincent Truffy report here, time is fast running out on a business still unable to define its future.