Investigations

  • 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.

  • Sarkozy, the arms dealer, and a secret 350 million-euro commission

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     © Mediapart © Mediapart

    A contract for the sale of submarines to Pakistan is currently the subject of a French judicial investigation into suspected illegal political party funding in France via commissions paid abroad. Several witnesses have identified Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine as being a principal intermediary in the deal. In this third report on the activities of the arms dealer and his close relations with President Nicolas Sarkozy's immediate entourage, Mediapart reveals how in 2003 Takieddine was destined to receive 350 million euros in secret commissions from another arms contract, via a company run by the interior ministry then headed by Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske investigate.

  • The well-connected arms dealer and his tax returns

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    Z.Takieddine © Mediapart Z.Takieddine © Mediapart

    In an ongoing judicial investigation into suspected illegal political party funding in France via a sale of submarines to Pakistan, several witnesses have identified Franco-Lebanese businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine (photo) as being a principle intermediary in the deal. Earlier this week, Mediapart revealed his closeness to key members of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's inner circle. In this second report, Mediapart can disclose how Takieddine pays no income tax nor wealth tax in France, despite being domiciled in the country and where, according to documents signed by his hand, he has a wealth of 40 million euros. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske investigate.

  • The secret financier who brings danger to the Sarkozy clan

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    Brice Hortefeux et Ziad Takieddine. © Photo Mediapart Brice Hortefeux et Ziad Takieddine. © Photo Mediapart

    Ziad Takieddine is best known to the public in connection with the ongoing judicial investigations into suspected illegal kickbacks from ‘commissions' paid during the controversial sale of submarines by France to Pakistan during the 1990s. But Mediapart can now exclusively reveal the businessman and arms broker's privileged relations at the very heart of President Nicolas Sarkozy's inner circle. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske investigate a man who represents a political time bomb for the French presidency.

  • Alarm bells ring at French nuke plant beside English Channel

    La centrale de Paluel (photo EDF). La centrale de Paluel (photo EDF).

    Mediapart can exclusively reveal that one of France's largest nuclear power plants, situated at Paluel, overlooking the English Channel in Normandy (photo), has recently been plagued by a series of disturbing incidents including contamination of staff and recurrent leaks of radioactive gas and seepage from cracked fuel rod casings. Mediapart has obtained access to documents and witness accounts that testify to a prevalent atmosphere of fear among workers at the plant which lies 60 miles from the English coastline and where the regularly-activated alarm system had to be re-tuned to lower safety levels. Jade Lindgaard and Michel de Pracontal investigate.

  • Pakistan's Zardari 'took $70 million' in bribes from French subs sale scam

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    French secret services were informed in 1999 that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari received 70 million dollars in bribes from France in the 1990s for the sale of three French submarines to Pakistan. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to evidence in a French judicial investigation into a far-reaching suspected arms deal scam that left 11 French naval engineers dead resulting from a political feud over illegal party funding in France.
  • Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn sitting on an ejector seat

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    The rumour mill is working overtime in the French business world and at Renault, where the carmaker's CEO Carlos Ghosn is fighting to keep his job after the fiasco of false espionage allegations against three top executives which saw them fired on false pretences, and led to the resignation of the company's N°2, Patrick Pelata. Officially all is well again, but Ghosn now faces a fierce battle against those determined to have his head for other reasons, not least French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Martine Orange and Laurent Mauduit report on the malaise surrounding the man at the wheel of one of France's industrial giants.

  • Exclusive: the secret report that could scupper Lagarde's bid to lead IMF

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    Aperçu de l'une des pages du rapport Aperçu de l'une des pages du rapport

    French finance minister Christine Lagarde is hotly tipped to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, arrested in New York last weekend on sex assault charges, as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Mediapart has exclusively obtained a copy of a confidential report (pictured) by the French national audit office, the Court of Accounts, which we publish here and which could potentially scupper her candidacy to become IMF chief. It throws deep suspicion on Lagarde's role, already the object of legal moves for suspected "abuse of authority", in a massive out-of-court settlement of 403 million euros of public funds awarded to controversial French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008. Laurent Mauduit reports.

  • French Socialist leaders 'knew of Strauss-Kahn 2002 sex attack allegations'

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    Anne Mansouret, mai 2011. © Jade Lindgaard Anne Mansouret, mai 2011. © Jade Lindgaard

    French Socialist Party leaders were informed about an alleged sexual assault by Dominique Strauss-Kahn upon 22 year-old journalist Tristane Banon in 2002 but failed to take action, her mother (photo) has told Mediapart. Socialist Party heavyweight Strauss-Kahn was expected to run as the party's candidate in next year's French presidential elections, which opinion polls widely forecast he would win until his arrest May 14th in New York on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel chambermaid.