Investigations

  • Inside the bloody world of Islamic State's British 'Beatles'

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    Left to right, Aine Lesley Jr Davis, El Shafee Elsheikh, Mohamed Emwazi – 'Jihadi John' – and  Alexanda Kotey, 'The Beatles' from Islamic State. © Photo montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Left to right, Aine Lesley Jr Davis, El Shafee Elsheikh, Mohamed Emwazi – 'Jihadi John' – and Alexanda Kotey, 'The Beatles' from Islamic State. © Photo montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    In the second of two articles based on interrogations by United States intelligence officials, Mediapart tells the story of the four notorious British jihadists who were to become known as 'The Beatles'. As Matthieu Suc reports, they were the first terrorists to represent to the wider world the true threat posed by Islamic State.

  • Senior French civil servant faces probe over luxury goods firm LVMH 'spying' affair

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    The chief executive of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, in the United States on October 17th 2019. © AFP The chief executive of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, in the United States on October 17th 2019. © AFP

    Pierre Lieutaud, a prefect, works in a senior role at the Ministry of the Interior and has a long background in French intelligence. Mediapart has discovered that this top-level public servant has been formally placed under investigation in the case involving alleged “spying” by the luxury goods group LVMH. Fabrice Arfi reports.

  • Islamic State's British 'Beatles' reveal ringleaders behind ransoming of French hostages

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    From left to right, Abu Lôqman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, Oussama Atar and Jihadi John. © Photo montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart From left to right, Abu Lôqman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, Oussama Atar and Jihadi John. © Photo montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    Two British jihadists currently in custody in the United States, who were part of a group of four Britons dubbed 'The Beatles', have told their American interrogators the identity of the Islamic State leaders who masterminded the capture and then release of French hostages in 2014 in exchange for ransoms. As Mediapart can reveal, these senior IS leaders were the same people who ordered the murderous attacks in Paris on November 13th 2015. Matthieu Suc reports.

  • How a damning report into the security for Macron's 2017 election campaign was buried

     © Simon Toupet / Mediapart © Simon Toupet / Mediapart

    An investigation by a ministerial department found that some of the private security services provided for Emmanuel Macron's 2017 presidential campaign were “in all probability carried out in illegal circumstances”. The probe unearthed claims of cash payments and of unlicensed security staff working at political rallies. Yet the final report, written by a department in the Ministry of the Interior, was buried in 2020 by a senior civil servant who decided no further action should be taken – against the advice of three of his senior staff. Mediapart can reveal the documentary evidence of how these potentially embarrassing allegations were shelved. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

     

  • A tale of France's justice minister, a Russian oligarch and an inconvenient judge

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    Eric Dupond-Moretti, Edouard Levrault and Dmitri Rybolovlev. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet/Mediapart Eric Dupond-Moretti, Edouard Levrault and Dmitri Rybolovlev. © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet/Mediapart

    When working as a barrister Éric Dupond-Moretti strongly attacked an examining judge whose investigations were sending shockwaves through the principality of Monaco. After he became Emmanuel Macron's justice minister in 2020, Dupond-Moretti quickly launched a disciplinary inquiry into that same judge. Mediapart reveals the background to this extraordinary tale and reveals a new link between the minister and the Russian billionaire at the centre of the scandal. Fabrice Arfi and Antton Rouget report.

  • French surgeon discovered trying to sell X-ray of Bataclan victim online

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    The Bataclan theatre, November 13th 2021, where flowers were laid in tribute to the victims the terrorist attacks. © Aurore Thibault / Hans Lucas via AFP The Bataclan theatre, November 13th 2021, where flowers were laid in tribute to the victims the terrorist attacks. © Aurore Thibault / Hans Lucas via AFP

    French orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean placed for sale online an X-ray of a woman survivor of the November 2015 terrorist shooting attack at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, on which a Kalashnikov bullet can be seen lodged in her arm. The victim had not been asked her permission for the sale and publication of her X-ray, which the surgeon priced at 2,776 dollars. Following Mediapart’s revelation of the attempted sale, the Paris public hospital administration described Masmejean’s behaviour as “shocking and indecent” and he now faces legal and disciplinary action. Matthieu Suc reports.

  • The wealthy donors funding French far-right presidential candidate Éric Zemmour

    Far-right presidential candidate Éric Zemmour. © Samuel Boivin / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP Far-right presidential candidate Éric Zemmour. © Samuel Boivin / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

    Last November, far-right polemicist Éric Zemmour, a newspaper columnist and TV pundit with several conviction for hate speech, announced he was standing in France’s presidential elections. Without an established party apparatus behind him, Zemmour’s campaign team have been networking the wealthy in search of financial donors. Mediapart has gained access to documents that reveal the identities of 35 of the largest donors, mostly found through fundraising dinners where guests include industrialists, bankers, high-flying lawyers and management consultants. Sébastien Bourdon, Ariane Lavrilleux and Marine Turchi report.

  • Ethical dilemma: French patients could be denied ICU access as Covid cases rise

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    A patient with breathing difficulties in intensive care at the Hôpital Nord in Marseille, February 2021. © Nicolas Tucat/AFP A patient with breathing difficulties in intensive care at the Hôpital Nord in Marseille, February 2021. © Nicolas Tucat/AFP

    Mediapart has seen a document in which doctors in the south of France are drawing up plans to decide which patients will be admitted to hospital intensive care units - and which will not - amid fears that the current wave of Covid-19 cases could overwhelm them. The revelation comes as France recorded 179,807 Covid cases in a single day. According to the working document, if the situation worsens ICU staff in Marseille and across the southern region of PACA could refuse admission to frail patients over 65. Meanwhile doctors have told Mediapart of their concern over the ethical issues they will face if they have to deny patients healthcare. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • Did French school fail Dinah, 14, who took her life after being bullied?

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    Dinah. © Mediapart Dinah. © Mediapart

    A month after the suicide of 14-year-old Dinah in October 2021, her parents lodged an official complaint with the prosecution authorities over “bullying”, and have accused the middle school she attended in north-east France of failing to provide assistance to a person in danger. The school and the education authorities deny there was any breakdown in pupil welfare procedures. But other parents have told Mediapart of their concerns over how the same establishment handled the bullying of their children. David Perrotin reports.

  • Why new Omicron variant highlights the urgent need to lift vaccine patents

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    The Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine being deployed in front of a voting booth in Soweto, November 1st 2021, during local elections in South Africa. © Photo Michèle Spatari / AFP The Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine being deployed in front of a voting booth in Soweto, November 1st 2021, during local elections in South Africa. © Photo Michèle Spatari / AFP

    The emergence of the new variant of Covid-19 called Omicron should serve as a wakeup call to rich countries that unless the whole world is given access to vaccines the pandemic is doomed to continue. Instead, the new variant was given as the reason why a key meeting at the World Trade Organisation to debate the temporary lifting of intellectual property rights on vaccines was postponed indefinitely. Rozenn Le Saint reports on the anger of French activists at the lack of progress on what they see as a key issue in tacking the pandemic in poorer countries.