Investigations

  • Pakistan's Zardari 'took $70 million' in bribes from French subs sale scam

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    French secret services were informed in 1999 that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari received 70 million dollars in bribes from France in the 1990s for the sale of three French submarines to Pakistan. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to evidence in a French judicial investigation into a far-reaching suspected arms deal scam that left 11 French naval engineers dead resulting from a political feud over illegal party funding in France.
  • Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn sitting on an ejector seat

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    The rumour mill is working overtime in the French business world and at Renault, where the carmaker's CEO Carlos Ghosn is fighting to keep his job after the fiasco of false espionage allegations against three top executives which saw them fired on false pretences, and led to the resignation of the company's N°2, Patrick Pelata. Officially all is well again, but Ghosn now faces a fierce battle against those determined to have his head for other reasons, not least French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Martine Orange and Laurent Mauduit report on the malaise surrounding the man at the wheel of one of France's industrial giants.

  • Exclusive: the secret report that could scupper Lagarde's bid to lead IMF

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    Aperçu de l'une des pages du rapport Aperçu de l'une des pages du rapport

    French finance minister Christine Lagarde is hotly tipped to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, arrested in New York last weekend on sex assault charges, as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Mediapart has exclusively obtained a copy of a confidential report (pictured) by the French national audit office, the Court of Accounts, which we publish here and which could potentially scupper her candidacy to become IMF chief. It throws deep suspicion on Lagarde's role, already the object of legal moves for suspected "abuse of authority", in a massive out-of-court settlement of 403 million euros of public funds awarded to controversial French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008. Laurent Mauduit reports.

  • French Socialist leaders 'knew of Strauss-Kahn 2002 sex attack allegations'

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    Anne Mansouret, mai 2011. © Jade Lindgaard Anne Mansouret, mai 2011. © Jade Lindgaard

    French Socialist Party leaders were informed about an alleged sexual assault by Dominique Strauss-Kahn upon 22 year-old journalist Tristane Banon in 2002 but failed to take action, her mother (photo) has told Mediapart. Socialist Party heavyweight Strauss-Kahn was expected to run as the party's candidate in next year's French presidential elections, which opinion polls widely forecast he would win until his arrest May 14th in New York on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel chambermaid.

  • Revealed: how French Football Fed's ethnic graph created a new division

    Following its exclusive revelations of a plan to introduce an ethnic quota on players entering French Football Federation national training academies, Mediapart publishes here a graph (pictured) prepared by federation officials earlier this year that identified in yellow the players in its national youth and senior teams who, because of their family origins, were believed to be "susceptible at any time to play for another sporting nation" by obtaining dual nationality.

  • Exposing the real fraud behind 'welfare-dependent France'

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    Welfare benefit fraud is currently a regular headline topic in the French media, and the ruling UMP conservative right party has made it a campaign issue for next year's presidential and legislative elections. But are France's welfare-dependent, dismissevely described as 'les assistés', really Europe's champion scroungers, as some pretend? Mathieu Magnaudeix argues here, figures in hand, why the issue is a political smokescreen that ignores both the facts and the massive cost of tax fraud and evasion by the well-off.

  • FFF turned deaf ear to French football race quota whistleblower

     © dr © dr

    French Football Federation (FFF) technical advisor Mohamed Belkacemi (photo) has said he was the person who recorded a November 2010 meeting of the federation's National Technical Board in which a plan to introduce ethnic quotas at the federation's football training academies was detailed, as exclusively revealed by Mediapart last week. While FFF chiefs have expressed surprise at the revelations, now the subject of separate internal and ministerial enquiries, Mediapart has now learnt that Belkacemi last autumn alerted a senior FFF official about the plan by handing him a copy of the recording just days after the meeting.

  • French football ethnic quota plan: the verbatim record of the closed-door discussions

    The French Football Federation's national technical director François Blaquart was suspended from his post on Staurday, following Mediapart's revelations that he and members of the technical board (DTN), including France coach Laurent Blanc, discussed a secret plan for an ethnic quota limiting the number of black and Arab youths entering its training academies. Blaquart and Blanc have denied the existence of such a plan. Mediapart exclusively reveals here a transcription of the high-level, closed-door meeting when the quotas were debated by Blanc, Blaquart and other leading figures of French football, which include the following, separate quotes:

    National technical director François Blaquart: "We could trace, on a non-spoken basis, a sort of quota. But it must not be said. It stays as action only."

    U21 year-olds Espoirs team coach Erick Mombaerts: "There are clubs like Lyon who do it in their training academies. They do it systematically.[...] they can't stand it anymore."

    France coach Laurent Blanc: "I'm going to give you the example of the Spanish. They don't have these problems [...] The Spanish, they told me ‘we don't have a problem. Us, we don't have any blacks'."

  • Exclusive: French football chiefs' secret plan to whiten 'les Bleus'

    Laurent Blanc. © (Reuters) Laurent Blanc. © (Reuters)

    Members of the French Football Federation's National Technical Board, including the France team coach Laurent Blanc (pictured), have secretly elaborated a plan to impose quotas on the number of young black players and those of North African origin among the country's youth training centres which groom potential candidates for the national team, Mediapart can reveal in this exclusive investigation.

  • Revealed: the inflationary payroll at 'cost-cutting' French Senate

    French Senate president Gérard Larcher entered office on a high-profile campaign to cut spending and impose budgetary discipline within the French parliament's notoriously lavish upper house. Mediapart this month obtained access to the payroll of the president's private staff, and it reveals anything but austerity. The average monthly salary is 8,500 euros while his principal private secretary earns more than 19,000 euros, just a few hundred euros short of the pay of French Prime Minister François Fillon. Mathilde Mathieu and Michaël Hajdenberg report.