Investigations

  • From ‘honeymoon’ to war: what US cables said about French courtship of Gaddafi

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    25 juillet 2007, Tripoli © Reuters 25 juillet 2007, Tripoli © Reuters

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy has assumed a high profile in the international military offensive launched to support the rebellion against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. But US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, and published here by Mediapart, shed a revealing light upon previously sweet relations between Sarkozy and Gaddafi (photo), described by one American ambassador as a "honeymoon" period of "high hopes for lucrative contracts".

  • When France protected on-the-run Balkan war lords

    Ante Gotovina. © (dr) Ante Gotovina. © (dr)

    Mediapart has obtained access to secret notes belonging to a now-retired senior French intelligence officer which establish how for years the French secret services collaborated with suspected war criminals, military officers from the former Yugoslavia, while they were wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) based in The Hague. Among them was Croatian General Ante Gotovina (photo), finally captured in the Canary Islands in 2005, as revealed in this investigation by Jean-Arnault Dérens and Laurent Gesli.

  • Poor and powerless: the Paris suburb where slumlords rule the roost

    The privately-owned, 1960s-built ‘Chêne Pointu' housing estate (photo) in the run-down Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois contains 1,500 apartments. Slumlords rule the roost here, where more than two-thirds of inhabitants live below the poverty line and insalubrious, overcrowded flats are rented, room by room, for as much as 1,800 euros per month. The local authorities complain that they are largely powerless to combat the blatantly illegal practices. Edouard Zambeaux investigates.
  • How France's struggling press sinks 1 billion euros in subsidies

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    The French press industry receives a staggering one billion euros annually in State aid, amounting to a "fiasco" and a "scandal" according to a government-commissioned study. Now newspaper publishers are under pressure to restructure or die before the tap runs dry. But, as David Medioni and Vincent Truffy report here, time is fast running out on a business still unable to define its future.

  • Oil giant Total faces $170 billion damages claim

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    A Paris court ruling has left French oil giant Total facing a claim for 170 billion dollars (131 billion euros) over a contract negotiated in Russia 20 years ago by a defunct subsidiary. No corporate entity has ever before faced a damages claim for such a huge and potentially devastating amount. Martine Orange reveals a Kafkaesque legal drama with a colourful cast that includes an entrepreneur and former F1 racing driver known as ‘Dédé the Sardine' and the late French novelist Françoise Sagan.

  • How the Ben Ali regime spooked a nation

     © Reuters © Reuters

    The fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak followed directly the overthrow in January of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The two strongmen had much in common, beginning with their secret police. Mediapart has obtained official documents seized during the strife in Tunisia which illustrate the extent of the Ben Ali regime's nationwide web of informers, ranging from taxi drivers to undercover agent 'activists'.

  • The French foreign minister, Ben Ali and the jet

    Bombardier © DR Bombardier © DR

    A private jet used by French foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie while holidaying in strife-torn Tunisia for the New Year belonged to a company run by the reviled brother-in-law of deposed Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Mediapart can reveal (along with the aircraft's intriguing flight log).

  • Secret French spy reports point to bribes behind Karachi blast

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    In May 2002, a group of 11 French engineers died in a bomb attack on their minibus in Karachi, Pakistan. They were helping to build submarines sold to Pakistan in a murky deal involving huge bribe payments. For years the blast was officially attributed to Islamic terrorists, a theory now dismissed. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to secret intelligence reports, hidden for almost nine years, which strengthen suspicions of a cover-up in a political scandal that runs all the way to the doors of the French presidency.

  • US, UK investors caught up in French private equity fund controversy

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    A legal battle due to be played out early this year at the Paris Commercial Court sees three French private equity funds go horn to horn over secret investors, fabulous profits and disturbing conflicts of interest. Among the investors caught up in the dispute are the Californian state teachers' retirement system, CalSTRS, the largest US teachers' retirement fund, British fund Pantheon Ventures and the French giant Axa. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to the case, and here lifts the lid on the very confidential world of venture capitalism.

  • Pakistan's Zardari 'pocketed millions' in French subs deal

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    President Nicolas Sarkozy and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. © Reuters President Nicolas Sarkozy and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. © Reuters

    Mediapart has gained exclusive access to evidence obtained by a French judge investigating a suspected far-reaching financial scam surrounding the sale of French submarines to Pakistan that details how Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, widow of Benazir Bhutto, once pocketed millions of euros in bribes paid to secure the deal. But the bounty trail of bucks doesn't stop there, for one of those alleged to have rubber-stamped the payment was, according to several witness statements, Nicolas Sarkozy, before he became French president.