Investigations

  • 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.

  • The strange affair of the last bride of Wildenstein

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    The plot may sound familiar: a long-running family feud, a multi-billion euro inheritance, an 'abused' widow, and allegations of tax fraud and ministerial connivance. Following hot on the heels of the Bettencourt saga, the battle over the estate of art collector Daniel Wildenstein raises fresh questions about the close relationships that bind France’s wealthiest families with a political elite.

  • Behind the Bettencourt affair: the battle for 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.

  • Karachi: bribes, bloodshed and the buried truth

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    L'ancien président pakistanais Pervez Musharraf inspecte, en 2003, à Karachi, les sous-marins Agosta 90 B de la DCN, vendus au Pakistan en 1994.  © Reuters L'ancien président pakistanais Pervez Musharraf inspecte, en 2003, à Karachi, les sous-marins Agosta 90 B de la DCN, vendus au Pakistan en 1994. © Reuters

    On May 8th, 2002, a group of 11 French naval engineers died in a bomb attack in the Pakistani port of Karachi. They had been helping with the construction of three Agosta 90 attack submarines, sold to Pakistan by France in 1994. An ongoing French judicial investigation into the blast is now working on the theory the murders were in retaliation for the non-payment by France of huge cash kickbacks promised to secure the deal. But evidence increasingly suggests that the bribe money was also ultimately destined for illegal political party funding in France.
  • The Roma who stop roaming: integration or marginalisation?

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    In contrast to the controversial French government policy of organising mass expulsions of Roma, local authorities in the Greater Paris Region have set up six social reinsertion camps, tactfully called 'villages', aimed at integrating them into more stable social conditions. But do these fenced and guarded sites offer a real solution - or are they misguided projects that further isolate an already marginalised community?
  • Seen from La Courneuve

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    The French government's move this year to ban the wearing of the burqa or niqhab in public led to passionate debate about multi-culturalism and national identity. Mediapart talked to Muslim men and women of different ages, backgrounds and occupations to learn their views of the issues and what it is to live with their faith in France.