Investigations

  • Secret French spy reports point to bribes behind Karachi blast

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    In May 2002, a group of 11 French engineers died in a bomb attack on their minibus in Karachi, Pakistan. They were helping to build submarines sold to Pakistan in a murky deal involving huge bribe payments. For years the blast was officially attributed to Islamic terrorists, a theory now dismissed. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to secret intelligence reports, hidden for almost nine years, which strengthen suspicions of a cover-up in a political scandal that runs all the way to the doors of the French presidency.

  • US, UK investors caught up in French private equity fund controversy

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    A legal battle due to be played out early this year at the Paris Commercial Court sees three French private equity funds go horn to horn over secret investors, fabulous profits and disturbing conflicts of interest. Among the investors caught up in the dispute are the Californian state teachers' retirement system, CalSTRS, the largest US teachers' retirement fund, British fund Pantheon Ventures and the French giant Axa. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to the case, and here lifts the lid on the very confidential world of venture capitalism.

  • Pakistan's Zardari 'pocketed millions' in French subs deal

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    President Nicolas Sarkozy and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. © Reuters President Nicolas Sarkozy and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. © Reuters

    Mediapart has gained exclusive access to evidence obtained by a French judge investigating a suspected far-reaching financial scam surrounding the sale of French submarines to Pakistan that details how Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, widow of Benazir Bhutto, once pocketed millions of euros in bribes paid to secure the deal. But the bounty trail of bucks doesn't stop there, for one of those alleged to have rubber-stamped the payment was, according to several witness statements, Nicolas Sarkozy, before he became French president.

  • Spy boss reveals secret Elysée mission over Karachi sting

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    No control: President Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters No control: President Nicolas Sarkozy. © Reuters

    Since the Karachi affair became public, with revelations that secret cash kickbacks from an arms deal may be linked to the murders of 11 French naval engineers, the Elysée Palace has been adamant that it "in no way concerns" President Nicolas Sarkozy (left). However, that line will become harder to maintain following evidence given to an examining magistrate by Alain Juillet, former number two of the French intelligence agency, the DGSE, and revealed here by Mediapart.

  • Balladur's second stash of cash

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    Edouard Balladur. © Reuters Edouard Balladur. © Reuters

    Already at the centre of the Karachi affair over suspected illegal electoral funding from arms sale kickbacks, former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur is now facing more questions over large and mysterious cash sums belonging to a political organization under his control. This time it concerns a stash of almost 100,000 euros found lying in a Paris safe, officially destined to pay for weekly breakfast meetings, and which was the object of a rapidly-shelved investigation in 2007.

  • Senior French defence chief told of former PM's 'kickback scam'

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     © Reuters © Reuters

    A former controller-general of the French armed forces told a parliamentary mission he was informed that former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur financed his presidential election campaign with illegal kick-backs on the sale of submarines to Pakistan, Mediapart can reveal. The disclosure of Jean-Louis Porchier's testimony raises further questions about the role played by Balladur's then-budget minister and campaign spokesman, Nicolas Sarkozy (left on photo).

  • 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.