Investigations

  • Graphologists confirm Gaddafi-Sarkozy illegal funding document is genuine

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    25 juillet 2007. Claude Guéant (à gauche) et Nicolas Sarkozy retrouvent le colonel Kadhafi à Tripoli. © Reuters 25 juillet 2007. Claude Guéant (à gauche) et Nicolas Sarkozy retrouvent le colonel Kadhafi à Tripoli. © Reuters

    Graphology experts assigned by a French judicial investigation to determine the authenticity of the signature on a document published by Mediapart detailing the Gaddafi regime’s approval of payment of 50 million euros to back Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign have unanimously concluded that it is indeed that of Moussa Koussa, head of the Libyan foreign intelligence services and later the dictator’s foreign affairs minister. The finding is a crucial new development in the investigation which has now gathered testimony from numerous experts backing the authenticity of the document. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Revealed: how French state hid truth about dam protest death for two days

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    Rémi Fraisse © DR Rémi Fraisse © DR

    The French state knew almost immediately what caused the death of 21-year-old student Rémi Fraisse at an eco-protest on October 26th, but sought to hide the facts for 48 hours. That is the clear implication of the initial findings of the independent judicial investigation into Fraisse's death at the Sivens dam protest in south-west France, details of which have been seen by Mediapart. These preliminary findings, backed by witness statements from gendarmes at the site, show that the forces of law and order were aware straight away that the botany student had died directly as a result of an 'offensive' grenade thrown by one of them. In an emotional statement the student's family has formally asked President François Hollande to explain why the government took two days to recognise what happened, and why a grenade packed with explosives was thrown at Rémi in the first place.

  • Why controversial French comic Dieudonné is forming a new political party

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    Alain Soral et Dieudonné en mai 2009 lors du dépôt de leur liste aux européennes. © Reuters Alain Soral et Dieudonné en mai 2009 lors du dépôt de leur liste aux européennes. © Reuters

    The stand-up comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, whose one-man show was banned earlier this year in France and who has been convicted of anti-Semitism, is setting up a new political party to rival the far-right Front National. His co-president will be Alain Soral, the anti-Semitic publisher and essayist who has split with Marine Le Pen's far-right party on the grounds that it is too “pro-Israeli” and that he has been “betrayed” by a senior FN official. According to documents seen by Mediapart the new party is to be called 'Réconciliation Nationale' or 'National Reconciliation'. The two leaders are said to be hoping for a dissolution of the National Assembly before 2017 so the new organisation can get its hands on state funding of political parties. Karl Laske and Marine Turchi report.

  • When Sarkozy met Gaddafi: how the Libyan election funding saga began

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    Nicolas Sarkozy et Mouammar Kadhafi sur le perron de l'Elysée, en 2007.  © Reuters Nicolas Sarkozy et Mouammar Kadhafi sur le perron de l'Elysée, en 2007. © Reuters

    The story of the covert Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign started two years earlier with a meeting between Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the then presidential hopeful Sarkozy himself, Mediapart can reveal. According to arms dealer Ziad Takieddine, who was in Tripoli at the time, Sarkozy directly asked Gaddafi for financial help during an official visit to the North African country in October 2005. A short time later Sarkozy's close political friend and ally Brice Hortefeux made a visit to Tripoli in which he had an off-diary meeting with Gadaffi's security chief Abdullah Senussi, a key figure in the corruption allegations involving Libya and France. Judges investigating the Libyan funding of Sarkozy's campaign are now painstakingly piecing together the background to the affair. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Gaddafi funding of Sarkozy campaign: the expert testimony that backs Mediapart evidence

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    Dans la cour de l'Elysée en décembre 2007.  © Reuters Dans la cour de l'Elysée en décembre 2007. © Reuters

    In April 2012, Mediapart published an official Libyan document that revealed that the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi approved payment of 50 million euros to fund Nicolas Sarkozy's successful 2007 presidential election campaign. The publication of the document prompted the opening of a judicial investigation into the claims that Gaddafi illegally financed Sarkozy’s campaign, and the ongoing probe represents a major threat to the former president who this month announced his return to active politics. “About Libya, the judges know that the documents are false,” said Sarkozy in an interview published last weekend. But in fact, as Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report, the magistrates leading the investigation have collected statements from numerous experts whose testimony gives credence to the document published by Mediapart.

  • Former French Socialist Party boss caught up in football stadium fraud probe

    By Geoffrey Livolsi
    Martine Aubry, ancienne ministre socialiste et maire de Lille.  © Reuters Martine Aubry, ancienne ministre socialiste et maire de Lille. © Reuters

    The former first secretary of the Socialist Party and one-time presidential hopeful Martine Aubry has recently made a return to national politics in France. In a series of media interventions the mayor of the northern city of Lille has made clear her dismay at the direction taken by François Hollande's socialist government. But Aubry's return to frontline politics could yet be overshadowed by a judicial investigation into how a false document was used to justify the award of a multi-million euro contract to build a major sports stadium in Lille that will feature in the Euro 2016 football tournament. Though the investigation was recently and unexpectedly closed, Mediapart can now reveal the existence of an embarrassing letter written by Martine Aubry that shows she passed on the fraudulent document to councillors. Geoffrey Livolsi reports.

  • The Tarnac affair: the farce and fiction in the case against an anarchist 'invisible cell'

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    A six-year investigation into the alleged terrorist activities of ten people suspected of having mounted an anarchist campaign of sabotage against the French railway system is to reach a conclusion later this summer when public prosecutors will advise whether they should stand trial. What is known as ‘the Tarnac affair’ began in the autumn of 2008 with triumphant claims by the French authorities that a dangerous anarchist cell with links to international terrorism had been successfully dismantled thanks to the efficiency of its intelligence services. But the case against the group of young anti-capitalists living as an alternative community in rural central France has since become a long-running judicial fiasco, discredited by tampered and incoherent evidence. Their fate now appears to hinge on a controversial police surveillance report, which their lawyers argue was, at least in part, fabricated. Louise Fessard reports.

  • Keeping it in the family – a fifth of French MPs employ their relatives

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    French MPs have recently been obliged to make public not just their financial interests but also who they hire to work for them. According to these official declarations and Mediapart's own research at least a fifth of all elected members of the National Assembly have employed a family member in 2014. Of these, 52 were spouses, 32 were daughters and 28 were sons. Mathilde Mathieu reports on the domestic world of French parliamentarians.

  • Close Hollande ally and advisor probed over 'tax fraud'

    By and Emmanuel Morisse
    François Hollande et Faouzi Lamdaoui, au premier plan © Reuters François Hollande et Faouzi Lamdaoui, au premier plan © Reuters

    Faouzi Lamdaoui, one of François Hollande's advisors at the Elysée and a close ally of the president for many years, has been questioned by detectives investigating allegations of “misuse of company assets” and “tax fraud”. Lamdaoui, who advises the French head of state on diversity and equality issues, has denied any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, an investigation by Mediapart has shown that the advisor has been the shareholder, manager or director in a range of similar companies, two of which have been the target of legal proceedings. Lénaïg Bredoux and Emmanuel Morisse report.

  • French Right reeling over secret loan and Sarkozy election campaign fraud

    The head of the parliamentary group of France’s main opposition party, the conservative UMP, faces a stormy meeting with his MP colleagues on Tuesday after Mediapart’s revelations that, without informing them, he secretly lent their cash-strapped party 3 million euros from what are largely public funds destined for financing the group’s parliamentary activities.  The scandal has outraged many within the UMP, and follows Mediapart’s earlier revelations that the party used faked invoices to hide 17 million euros of illegal overspending on the 2012 presidential election campaign of its candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi, Mathilde Mathieu and Ellen Salvi report.