Investigations

  • Karachi witness reveals 'kickback blackmail' attempt

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    A key witness in the investigation into suspected illegal political funding in France from bribes allocated for the sale of French submarines to Pakistan has given testimony of a blackmail attempt against senior government figures, including Nicolas Sarkozy, in the months before the 2007 presidential elections and centred on allegedly compromising information about the kickbacks. We reveal here what he told a French judge.

  • How the Karachi affair caught up with Nicolas Sarkozy

    The families of 11 French engineers killed in a bomb blast in Pakistan in 2002 want French President Nicolas Sarkozy to be formerly questioned by an investigating magistrate about what he knows of a corruption deal linked to the attack.

    The deal is suspected to have involved illegal political party funding in France, paid through secret kick-backs from the sale of submarines to Pakistan, a scam largely confirmed in November in the testimony, before a judge, of a former French defence minister.

    Mediapart, which has led the revelations over what is now known as 'the Karachi affair', has produced a video report clearly explaining the backround to the scandal now engulfing the French president. Click here to watch the video and to read a selection of Mediapart reports on the story.

  • Just who is Monsieur Borloo?

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    Going up or out? Jean-Louis Borloo.  © dr Going up or out? Jean-Louis Borloo. © dr
    After months of speculation, French Prime Minister François Fillon has been re-appointed to his post, leaving outgoing environment and energy minister Jean-Louis Borloo, once tipped to replace Fillon, out of the new government and a bitterly disappointed man. Martine Orange investigates the surprising networks and friendships of Borloo, and how he once made a small fortune out of busted businesses.
  • When the past came back to haunt the Sasakawa Foundation

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    War criminal: Ryoichi Sasakawa pictured after his arrest. © DR War criminal: Ryoichi Sasakawa pictured after his arrest. © DR
    The Franco-Japanese Sasakawa Foundation benefits from the support of some among France's academic and cultural elite. A recent French court ruling, however, has brought to the fore the murky history of Ryoichi Sasakawa.
  • Bettencourt chauffeur adds to Sarkozy campaign fund allegations

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    Former Bettencourt chauffeur Dominique Gautier © TF1 Former Bettencourt chauffeur Dominique Gautier © TF1
    In an exclusive interview with Mediapart, a former chauffeur to L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and her late husband André has added to allegations of secret financing of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign.
  • Tibhirine monk murders and 'bitter' reports of a super-spy

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    In March 1996, seven French Cisterian Trappist monks were kidnapped from their monastery in Tibhirine, Algeria. Their heads were found two months later, on a nearby roadside, some hanging from trees in plastic bags. Their murders remain a mystery, despite initial official claims that Islamic extremists were responsible. An ongoing French judicial investigation is exploring the theory that they were mistakenly murdered by the Algerian army, and their bodies mutilated in an appalling cover-up. In this second report on the mystery, we reveal extracts from three secret French intelligence reports prepared by General Philippe Rondot, the 'super-spy' assigned to the case.

  • Inside story: the Constitutional Council, Balladur and the row over his election funds

    In May, 2002, eleven French naval engineers died in a bomb attack in the Pakistani port of Karachi, where they had been helping to build three submarines sold by France to Pakistan in 1994. The ongoing Paris-based judicial investigation into the murders is working on the theory that they were murdered in revenge for the non-payment by France to intermediaries of huge cash kickbacks. It has found evidence suggesting the kickbacks may have also involved illegal political funding in France. Central to this allegation are the presidential election campaign expenses of former prime minister Edouard Balladur, for whom Nicolas Sarkozy was campaign spokesman and which are due to be the subject of a second judicial investigation. Both deny any wrongdoing. However, Mediapart reveals how France's top administrative court smothered evidence suggesting the contrary.

  • Ségolène Royal: the return of the prodigal daughter

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    Sept 2010 © Reuters Sept 2010 © Reuters
    Ségolène Royal has seen her political fortunes dive since her defeat to Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential elections. Ostracised by many leading Socialists, she retreated to her regional fiefdom, her future chances of a second crack at the pinnacle of power apparently destroyed. But Ségo, as she's popularly called, is not one to go quietly and now she has announced she will run in elections to choose the next Socialist Party presidential candidate. Stéphane Alliès charts a remarkable and swift political recovery.
  • The political guard watching over L'Oréal

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    This article has been censored

    A ruling by the Versailles court of appeal on July 4th 2013 has ordered that Mediapart must remove from its website all articles which contain extracts from the so-called ‘butler tapes’ at the heart of the Bettencourt affair. The penalty for not doing so is 10,000 euros per article per day (effective from July 21st). Mediapart has appealed against the ruling.

  • Bettencourt butler bites back: 'I saw L'Oréal family destroyed'

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    Liliane Bettencourt. © (DR) Liliane Bettencourt. © (DR)

    The so-called 'butler tapes', first revealed by Mediapart in June, hit world headlines and created the Bettencourt affair, a tale of influence peddling, tax-evasion and collusion among the high-flyers of the French political and business establishment. Now Mediapart exclusively reveals what Pascal Bonnefoy, butler to L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, subsequently told police about the behind-the-doors scenes in the home of Europe's wealthiest woman. He testified that she was the subject of physical and verbal abuse, the prey of an inner circle of "mature men" who hide behind "a tired and fragile woman", including one who he said had the habit of urinating in her plant pots.