Investigations

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

    By and
    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.

  • The 'money laundering left and right' at a Monaco subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel-CIC

    By Geoffrey Livolsi, Dan Israel et Fabrice Arfi
    Deux hauts dirigeants de Pasche, Jürg Schmid et Christophe Mazurier, pour les 125 ans de la banque en 2010. © DR Deux hauts dirigeants de Pasche, Jürg Schmid et Christophe Mazurier, pour les 125 ans de la banque en 2010. © DR

    Mediapart has obtained documents and witness accounts that provide evidence of money laundering by the Banque Pasche de Monaco while it was a subsidiary of French banking giant Crédit Mutuel-CIC. Among the affluent clients of the small bank, based in the Principality of Monaco, is Ricardo Teixeira, a former member of the executive committee of the international football governing body FIFA and who headed Brazil’s World Cup organization committee, implicated in a series of fraud and corruption cases and who deposited more than 30 million euros on his account. A judicial investigation is now underway into the bank’s dubious practices, which were revealed to the Crédit Mutuel-CIC group’s senior management by three whistleblowing staff - who were subsequently sacked, just months before the Monaco bank was sold off last November. Geoffrey Livolsi, Dan Israel and Fabrice Arfi report.

  • 'Is he loyal to us?': phone tap shows ex-president Sarkozy's doubts over current French spy chief

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

    Mediapart can disclose the content of more phone taps concerning former president Nicolas Sarkozy that show how he and his entourage have sought to glean information on the state of judicial probes from senior state officials. One conversation reveals that the ex-head of state was worried about the “loyalty” of the new head of France's domestic intelligence service, from whom he was trying to extract key details. Judges investigating the Libyan funding of Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign also believe they may have uncovered the identity of one of the former president's “moles” in the intelligence services. As Fabrice Arfi reports, the revelations provide further evidence about how far Nicolas Sarkozy and his aides seem willing to go in order to find out how judicial investigations are progressing.