Investigations

  • Boss of top French football club PSG faces questions over commission for player's agent

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    In a confidential letter seen by Mediapart and the British daily newspaper The Guardian, the president of leading French football club PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, requested the payment of a 2-million-euro commission to the agent of Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore in relation to the latter's transfer. The request was apparently made on the instructions of the current Emir of Qatar. If carried out, such a payment appears to breach both French football transfer regulations and the law. A company run by Al-Khelaifi's brother also asked for 200,000 dollars in 'expenses' over the transfer. Yann Philippin reports.

  • How French minister and probity advocate enjoys the high life on public funds

    French environment minister François de Rugy and his wife Séverine. © Reuters French environment minister François de Rugy and his wife Séverine. © Reuters

    French environment minister François de Rugy, an outspoken campaigner for greater transparency in public office, is engulfed this week by Mediapart’s revelations of how he and his wife regularly organised grand dinner parties with fine wines and food provided for by the public purse, while also ordering the redecoration of their ministerial grace and favour apartment at a cost of more than 60,000 euros also paid for by public funds. His chief of staff has now been forced to resign after Mediapart also revealed this week how for 12 years she held on to an apartment allocated to her on subsidised rent by the Paris social housing department when she was in fact posted elsewhere in the country.

  • Health scandal over 'unprecedented' lead levels after Notre-Dame fire

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    Notre-Dame cathedral after the fire in April 2019. © Reuters Notre-Dame cathedral after the fire in April 2019. © Reuters

    Levels of lead concentration 400 to 700 times the maximum authorised limit have been detected in the ground inside and around Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris since the fire that destroyed it in April, according to confidential documents seen by Mediapart. Neither the regional health authority nor the Paris police authorities – who have carried out one of the tests - have passed on these results to people living near by or people working in contaminated areas. One reason for not doing so is apparently the fear of alarming people. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • France splashes out to deport Sri Lankans from Indian Ocean territory

    By Manuel Sanson (Le Poulpe.info)
    Mayotte, a French département in the Indian Ocean. © Reuters Mayotte, a French département in the Indian Ocean. © Reuters

    Authorities in Paris and on France's Indian Ocean overseas département of Mayotte seem set on deterring further Sri Lankan asylum seekers from coming to the impoverished archipelago. Even if, as a series of documents show, the cost to taxpayers of sending that message has been exorbitant. Manuel Sanson from investigative website Le Poulpe reports

  • The threat to France's fight against white collar crime and corruption

    Concerns have been raised privately within the French justice system about the involvement of the government and in particular the Élysée in picking the successor to Éliane Houlette as head of the country's national financial crimes prosecution unit, the Parquet National Financier (PNF). This is because the PNF is currently handling two investigations which are particularly sensitive for the presidency. One is into the Russian security contracts involving former Élysée security aide Alexandre Benalla. The other probe is into President Emmanuel Macron's chief of staff Alexis Kohler over an alleged conflict of interest. Fabrice Arfi, Michel Deléan and Antton Rouget report.

  • Probe into how French laboratory worker died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

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    A research laboratory at INRA. © DR A research laboratory at INRA. © DR

    Émilie, a 33-year-old laboratory technician, died in June 2018 from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human variant of so-called mad cow disease. Her family has now lodged an official complaint of manslaughter and endangering lives against France's national agricultural research institute, INRA, where the young woman was working when she contracted the disease. The evidence suggests that there were health and safety failings on the part of this prestigious institute. Meanwhile the Ministry of Education, which oversees the research body, has launched an investigation. Pascale Pascariello reports.

     

  • Friend of French prime minister to stand trial after 'assaulting' policeman

    Édouard Philippe and Khalid Bouksib. © DR Édouard Philippe and Khalid Bouksib. © DR

    A friend of French prime minister Édouard Philippe was arrested and placed in custody on Sunday June 23rd for having reportedly hit an off-duty police officer. According to legal sources he was, unusually, freed just a few hours later after having claimed – falsely - that he was the premier's diplomatic advisor. He is now due to face trial in November on charges that include passing himself off as a ministerial advisor. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Matthieu Suc report

  • Document implicates Qatari ruler's chief aide in athletics 'corruption' probe

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    Confidential documents seen by Mediapart and British daily The Guardian suggest that the chief of staff of Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was involved in negotiating payments that are suspected by a French judicial probe of being used in a corruption plot for the attribution of the World Championships of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). It also suggests that Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman and CEO of BeIN Sport media group and president of French football club PSG, played a greater role in the alleged plot than he has hitherto told the French judicial investigation. Yann Philippin reports.

  • French government caves in to pressure from food lobby over junk food

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    French prime minister Édouard Philippe and agriculture and foods minister Didier Guillaume at the Agriculture Show in Paris. © Ministère de l'agriculture French prime minister Édouard Philippe and agriculture and foods minister Didier Guillaume at the Agriculture Show in Paris. © Ministère de l'agriculture

    The food industry is happy with the French government's new food and nutrition plan which, from its point of view, has rejected the most worrying measures that had been recommended by health experts. And according to a document obtained by Mediapart, the industry is also opposed to the carrying out of a study into the health risks posed by eating ultra-processed foods. Karl Laske reports on the results of a joint investigation between Mediapart and consumer group Que Choisir.

  • It's a family affair: probe into Macron ally Gérard Collomb

    By Nicolas Barriquand Et Mathieu Périsse (Mediacités-Lyon)
    Lyon mayor and former minister of the interior Gérard Collomb. © Reuters Lyon mayor and former minister of the interior Gérard Collomb. © Reuters

    The mayor of France's third largest city Lyon, former interior minister and key ally of President Emmanuel Macron, Gérard Collomb, faces a preliminary investigation for possible “misappropriation of public money” linked to city council jobs held by his former partner. One constant factor in the career of this powerful politician is that Gerard Collomb's partners have always worked close at hand. Nicolas Barriquand and Mathieu Périss from online journal and Mediapart partner Mediacités report.