Investigations

  • How French intelligence shields the Sarkozy clan’s unofficial emissary

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    In a series of exclusive reports that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the longstanding close links between France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisers and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy, before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal how the French intelligence agency, the DGSE, has sought to conceal all it knows about the businessman's activities.

  • When Total paid the bill for the Elysée's secret emissary

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    France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale to Pakistan. In a series of investigations that began in July, Mediapart has revealed how Takieddine has long served as a secret diplomatic and business emissary for the staff of Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske unravel how Takieddine, backed by Sarkozy's Elysée Palace chief-of-staff, was paid almost 7 million euros by oil group Total in a gas field deal with the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

  • Exclusive: the damning report by French magistrates on Christine Lagarde's suspected crimes

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    Mediapart has obtained exclusive access to the scathing conclusions of a French court that prompted its decision earlier this month to open an investigation into IMF chief Christine Lagarde's suspected 'aiding and abetting falsification' and 'misappropriation of public funds' when she was French finance minister. The magistrates from France's Court of Justice of the Republic detail why they suspect that she acted personally to ensure that French tycoon Bernard Tapie, who leant public support to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign, received a payout of 403 million euros from the public purse through an arbitration procedure.
  • The case of the arms dealer, Gaddafi's nephew and the beaten-up London escort girls

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    France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale to Pakistan. In a series of investigations that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the very close and longstanding links between Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president - and for whose office he served as a secret diplomatic and commercial emissary. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal how Takieddine, while negotiating a rapprochement between France and Libya, served as a protector for Colonel Mumamar Gaddafi's nephew Mohammed al-Senussi (photo) after he was charged in London with causing ‘grievous bodily harm' to two escort girls.

  • France's secret diplomacy with Syria, and the arms dealer who played emissary

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    M. Sarkozy et Assad © Reuters M. Sarkozy et Assad © Reuters

    In a series of exclusive reports that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the longstanding close links between France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy, before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal Takieddine's highly sensitive role as secret emissary for the French presidency in securing close diplomatic and commercial ties with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

  • Exclusive: how President Sarkozy’s team dealt with Gaddafi

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    MM. Sarkozy et Guéant © Reuters MM. Sarkozy et Guéant © Reuters

    Mediapart has obtained confidential documents that reveal how international arms dealer Ziad Takieddine was mandated by Nicolas Sarkozy's staff, before and after he became president, to negotiate on their behalf major weapons and security contracts with the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

    • Takieddine was notably an intermediary for the sale of a French encrypted signals system to protect the Libyan regime from surveillance by the US-led Western communications interception network known as ‘Echelon'.
    • Mediapart can also reveal that President Sarkozy's former chief-of-staff, the current French interior minister Claude Guéant misled, while under oath, a French parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances of French involvement in the freeing of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic jailed in Libya, in 2007.
  • The arms dealer and his Paris party for the glitterati

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    MM. Mougeotte et Copé et Mlle Rousseau chez Ziad Takieddine. © (dr.) MM. Mougeotte et Copé et Mlle Rousseau chez Ziad Takieddine. © (dr.)

    In a series of reports that began July 11th, Mediapart has revealed the close links between businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and ranking members of President Nicolas Sarkozy's entourage, including ministers past and present. The documents and photos exclusively obtained by Mediapart raise important questions over the political relations and the role of the Franco-Lebanese intermediary who is regarded as a key witness in an ongoing judicial investigation into suspected illegal political financing in France via commissions paid in weapons sales abroad, notably a sale of French submarines to Pakistan. In this sixth report, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske return to a lavish party thrown by Takieddine in 2002 for a glittering guest list of French movers and shakers from the worlds of politics, the media, business and the lofty ranks of the civil service.

  • Exclusive: how Sarkozy's team sought grace for Gaddafi's murderous henchman

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    A.Senoussi © (dr.) A.Senoussi © (dr.)

    Mediapart has obtained documents revealing how French President Nicolas Sarkozy's close entourage, including serving and former ministers, attempted a reconciliation with the outlawed regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi which included moves to sideline an international warrant for the arrest of the colonel's security chief, Abdullah Senussi (photo, circled), sentenced in absentia in France for the bombing of a French airliner that left 170 people dead. While the International Criminal Court has now issued arrest warrants for Senussi, Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam, for "murder and crimes against humanity" during the recent upheavals in Libya. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on the muddied background to NATO's military campaign for democracy in Libya.

  • Two tycoons and a secret pact to carve up millions in compensation

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    A French court will decide in August whether the new IMF chief Christine Lagarde will be investigated for her role, when French finance minister, in the controversial 2008 award of more than 400 million euros of public money to French tycoon Bernard Tapie. The case took a new twist in July after Mediapart led revelations over a secret pact between flamboyant, twice-fold rags-to-riches Tapie and an equally colourful entrepreneur called André Guelfi, a.k.a.Dédé la Sardine. The two men, who first met in prison, agreed to share their winnings in Tapie's compensation claim against the Crédit Lyonnais bank, and Guelfi's astronomic and ongoing compensation demand of more than 1 billion euros from oil giant Total, with funds destined to an offshore tax haven. Laurent Mauduit reports.

  • How Sarkozy aides saved arms dealer from paradise island 'death blow'

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    Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing judicial investigation into suspected illegal political financing in France via commissions paid in weapons sales abroad, notably a sale of French submarines to Pakistan. In an ongoing series of investigations into the arms dealer's close ties with the entourage of President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mediapart reveals how, when Takieddine was brokering a weapons deal for Sarkozy when the latter was interior minister, he fell victim to a mysterious accident on the exclusive billionaires' retreat in the Caribbean island of Mustique. The minister's top aides rushed to save him from a near-certain death in what Takieddine claimed was an assassination attempt.