Investigations

  • New revelations on Macron aide's oligarch deals worth 2.2m euros

    Left to right: Alexandre Benalla, Iskander Makhmudov, and Farkhad Akhmedov. © DR Left to right: Alexandre Benalla, Iskander Makhmudov, and Farkhad Akhmedov. © DR

    Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, who also served as deputy to the president’s inner cabinet chief, organised from the Élysée Palace a private deal to provide protection services to a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin and who is suspected of ties to Russian organised crime. Benalla, who was initially dismissed from his post after assaulting people on the sidelines of a May Day march, last December also sold protection services to another Russian billionaire. The total of the two deals is worth 2.2 million euros, part of which was paid to Benalla in Morocco, Mediapart can reveal in this latest investigation into the growing scandal which, it is speculated, may be linked to the resignation announced this week of Macron’s most senior advisor, Ismaël Emelien.

  • Revealed: France's lies over the genocide in Rwanda

    By and Benoît Collombat (Radio France)
    The wreckage of Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana's aicraft, shot down on April 6th 1994. © Reuters The wreckage of Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana's aicraft, shot down on April 6th 1994. © Reuters

    In a joint investigation, Mediapart and Radio France have revealed the contents of previously unseen documents relating to aspects of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, from the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana which sparked the massacres to illegal arms sales to the genocidal regime. The documents include a key report by France's overseas intelligence agency, the DGSE, on the genocide, which left close to one million people dead. Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi and Benoît Collombat of Radio France report.

  • Probe launched into Russian oligarch contract linked to Élysée security aide

    Alexandre Benalla and, just behind him, Vincent Crase in Paris on May 1st 2018 . © Reuters Alexandre Benalla and, just behind him, Vincent Crase in Paris on May 1st 2018 . © Reuters

    France's national fraud prosecution unit has opened an investigation for “corruption” over a French firm's security contract signed with Russian oligarch Iskander Makhmudov, and negotiated by Alexandre Benalla while the latter was a security aide at the Élysée. Mediapart first revealed details of this contract, which involves a company run by Benalla's friend Vincent Crase, back in December. In a separate development the French prime minister's head of security has resigned after claims that her flat was used to host a bail-breaching meeting between Benalla and Crase that was secretly recorded in July 2018. She denies any wrong doing. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

  • How French PM's office sparked probe into Mediapart's sources in security aide affair

    President Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Édouard Philippe in Paris in March 2018. © Reuters President Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Édouard Philippe in Paris in March 2018. © Reuters

    It was an intervention from the office of France's prime minister Édouard Philippe which caused the opening of an investigation into the source of secret recordings involving a former presidential aide, Mediapart can reveal. This investigation then led to an attempt by prosecutors to search Mediapart's office – which Mediapart prevented, citing laws designed to protect its sources. The prosecution authorities, meanwhile, are remaining silent about the information they received which caused them to start the probe. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget, Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.

  • Macron security aide affair: the secret recordings that change everything

    Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters

    An investigation by Mediapart sheds dramatic new light on the affair involving Alexandre Benalla, who was a security aide to President Emmanuel Macron until he was sacked when video footage emerged showing that he had used violence against protestors at a demonstration. In particular recordings of Benalla talking to the former head of security for the ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, who also lost his job over the scandal, reveal details about a secret meeting that breached a judicial control order, about a security contract with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and Benalla's ongoing communications with President Macron. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

  • The secret payments made via Panama to former Gucci boss

    By
    The former CEO of Gucci, Patrizio Di Marco, with his wife Frida Giannini. © Reuters The former CEO of Gucci, Patrizio Di Marco, with his wife Frida Giannini. © Reuters

    The leading French luxury goods company Kering, owned by the ultra wealthy Pinault family, saved 39 million euros in tax by paying the former boss of its subsidiary Gucci via a company in Panama, according to documents obtained by Mediapart and shared with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). The French company also lied about its tax avoidance schemes to two separate investigations carried out by the French Senate. Yann Philippin investigates.

  • How Ronaldo escaped lightly with tax fraud sentence

    By
    Cristiano Ronaldo arriving at court in Madrid, January22nd, with his fiancee Georgina Rodriguez. © Reuters Cristiano Ronaldo arriving at court in Madrid, January22nd, with his fiancee Georgina Rodriguez. © Reuters

    Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo was on Tuesday ordered to pay an 18.8 million-euro fine by a Madrid court and was handed a 23-month suspended jail sentence after admitting tax fraud amounting to almost 15 million euros between 2011 and 2014. The case followed the Football Leaks revelations published in December 2016 by Mediapart and its partners in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) media consortium. But the former Real Madrid striker, whose wealth is estimated at more than 200 million euros, in fact escaped a far heavier sentence with the falsification of a document concerning his offshore payments on image rights, which Mediapart reveals here.  

  • French riot police deploy assault rifles at 'yellow vest' demonstrations

    By
    CRS riot police with HKG36 assault rifles in central Paris on January 12th. © DR CRS riot police with HKG36 assault rifles in central Paris on January 12th. © DR

    A document obtained by Mediapart reveals that the national director of France’s CRS riot police ordered the deployment of Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles during nationwide demonstrations on January 12th by the ‘yellow vest’ movement. The militarisation of policing tactics during the recurrent demonstrations, in protest over falling living standards for low- and middle-income earners, includes an almost systematic use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused numerous serious injuries. Karl Laske reports on the arsenal employed and the dramatic consequences of the escalating violence.

  • Shamed Macron aide claims regular contact with president whose entourage is 'worse than the mafia'

    By
    Emmanuel Macron with bodyguard Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron with bodyguard Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters

    The scandal surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, who was fired over media revelations that he violently assaulted participants in May Day marches in Paris this year while illegally wearing police apparel, escalated this month after Mediapart’s revelations that he has continued to use a diplomatic passport while conducting business trips abroad, notably in Israel and several African countries. Now, in an exclusive interview with Mediapart, he claims to continue to regularly discuss ongoing political issues with Macron, despite the Élysée’s insistence that he has “no further contact” with the French president. Benalla, 27, says his mobile phone records provide the truth of his claims, while he also accuses Macron’s entourage as behaving like a “mafia” against him. Fabrice Arfi reports on the deepening mystery of Benalla’s relationship with the French president.

  • Disgraced Macron security aide has diplomatic passport

    By and
    Alexandre Benalla standing behind Emmanuel Macron when he served as the president's bodyguard. © Photo d'archives/REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer Alexandre Benalla standing behind Emmanuel Macron when he served as the president's bodyguard. © Photo d'archives/REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

    Alexandre Benalla, the disgraced former personal security advisor and deputy cabinet chief to President Emmanuel Macron, who was dismissed from his post this summer after it was revealed he assaulted May Day marchers in Paris while wearing police insignia, has continued to travel in possession of a French diplomatic passport and notably during recent business trips to Israel and several African countries, Mediapart has learnt. The passport, valid for four years, was delivered to him on May 24th, three weeks after the May Day events for which he is now placed by magistrates under formal investigation. Fabrice Arfi and Antton Rouget report.