Investigations

  • Police seize secret recording in which billionaire Serge Dassault admits 'buying' an election

    By
    Serge Dassault, le 6 mai 2004 à l'Elysée.  © Reuters Serge Dassault, le 6 mai 2004 à l'Elysée. © Reuters

    Just four days after Mediapart published a secretly-made tape in which French industrialist and senator Serge Dassault admits paying money to 'buy' a local election, fraud squad officers have taken possession of the recording. Mediapart handed over a copy of the tape after an official request from the authorities. At the same time Dassault's lawyers have tried to get the recording censored, claiming it is a breach of the 88-year-old billionaire’s privacy. Fabrice Arfi reports.

  • Election corruption claims: how the 'Dassault System' worked

    By Pascale Pascariello
    Serge Dassault a admis avoir acheté l'élection municipale de 2010 dans un enregistrement réalisé en novembre 2012.  © Reuters Serge Dassault a admis avoir acheté l'élection municipale de 2010 dans un enregistrement réalisé en novembre 2012. © Reuters

    The billionaire French industrialist Serge Dassault, who was caught on tape saying he paid money to 'buy' an election, is to appear before examining magistrates next month as a witness in an investigation into the attempted murder of the two men who made that recording. Meanwhile a participant in the alleged electoral corruption that Dassault is said to have created speaks exclusively to Mediapart about how the 'system' worked. In doing so he makes a plea for the judicial authorities to help him – claiming his life is now in danger. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • French billionaire Serge Dassault secretly recorded saying he paid money to 'buy' election win

    By , and Pascale Pascariello
    Le 22 octobre 2010, au Sénat.  © Reuters Le 22 octobre 2010, au Sénat. © Reuters

    The leading French industrialist and media owner Serge Dassault has been secretly recorded on video admitting that he paid out a huge sum of money to help 'buy' a local election in a town where he was once mayor. Billionaire Dassault, one of the wealthiest men in France and a French senator, makes the assertion in a recording obtained by Mediapart and parts of which are published here. 'I gave the money,' he is heard saying to two men who asked him about the cash – 1.7 million euros in all - while they clandestinely recorded him. Mediapart has also established that three months after the video was made the two men concerned were shot and wounded, one of them seriously. Contacted by Mediapart about the tape Serge Dassault said he had no comment. Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg and Pascale Pascariello report.

  • The case of Interpol, its secretary general, his personal lawyer and a contract to track down the Gaddafi clan's secret fortune

    By
     © Reuters © Reuters

    Interpol has provided exceptional assistance, including confidential information, to a French lawyer hired since 2011 by its secretary general for his divorce proceedings, in order to help him win a lucrative contract with Libya as part of an Interpol-sponsored project to recover assets looted by the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Mediapart has gained access to correspondence demonstrating how Interpol’s Director of Legal Affairs used key contacts of the international police cooperation organisation to ensure that the authorities in Tripoli agree to hire the lawyer’s services. Mathilde Mathieu reports.

  • The big-business hunt for Gaddafi's hidden billions

    By

    A worldwide treasure hunt is on to track down the massive, hidden fortune of late Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his clan, bringing together a disparate group of mercenaries, from weathered former US intelligence operatives to be-suited business lawyers. All are gambling on big commission returns for the financial hides they return to the new authorities in Tripoli. “When you have 100 million euros to recover, there’s already some nervousness,” commented a director of Interpol. “When you have 1 billion, people are ready to kill. Here, we’re dealing with dozens of billions.” Mathilde Mathieu reports.

  • How IMF boss Christine Lagarde lied to judges in Tapie affair

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     © Reuters © Reuters

    When the head of the International Monetary Fund appeared before judges investigating the Tapie affair, she told them she had never read key memos from a state body that was advising her against the controversial arbitration that eventually paid out 404 million euros of taxpayers' money. But that is not what she told French MPs five years ago. Mediapart's Laurent Mauduit reports on how the former finance minister appears to have misled the criminal investigation.

  • Another Gaddafi aide details Libyan funding of Sarkozy

    By and
    Mohamed Ismail Mohamed Ismail

    Mohammed Ismail (pictured), a former aide to Saïf al-Islam, the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has confirmed claims that Gaddafi funded the 2007 election campaign of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Mediapart can reveal. “Part of the funds went through North Africa Commercial Bank in Beirut, and from there to a bank account in Germany affiliated with Ziad,” Ismail told Mediapart, referring to Ziad Takieddine, a Paris-based businessman and arms dealer who worked as a key advisor to Sarkozy’s aides in their dealings with the former Libyan regime. “Other parts were funnelled through bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland,” he added. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Gaddafi 'told senior aide he gave Sarkozy $20 million' for election campaign

    By and
    Gaddafi funding of Sarkozy election campaign : a first-hand witness confirms © Mediapart

    A senior aide to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has revealed that Gaddafi personally told him that his regime illegally funded Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign to the tune of 20 million dollars. Moftah Missouri, who was Colonel Gaddafi’s personal interpreter, who was given the rank of ambassador and who also served as a minister in the regime, made the disclosure in an interview with French state television channel France 2, to be broadcast Thursday evening. During the interview, also confirms the veracity of a document published by Mediapart in April 2012 in which Gaddafi's funding of Sarkozy’s campaign is detailed. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

     

  • French professional football clubs 'apply ethnic quotas' on teams, says top official

    By and
     © Reuters © Reuters

    The application of ethnic quotas among players in professional French football clubs is widespread and “to deny it would be absurd”, according to the chairman of France’s Union of Professional Football Clubs, Jean-Pierre Louvel (pictured), whose organisation represents 45 French clubs. His disclosures come two years after Mediapart revealed a scheme by leaders of the French Football Federation (FFF) to introduce ethnic quotas on teenagers joining French national football training academies. Louvel told Mediapart that when a club had a majority of players of African origin “the social life of the club is no longer the same” and referred to problems caused by “the human relations of Africans”. Questioned by Mediapart, FFF chairman Noël Le Graët said he “couldn’t give a damn” about Louvel’s comments. French sports minister Valérie Fourneyron on Tuesday ordered the FFF to take an official position on Louvel’s remarks. Fabrice Arfi and Michaël Hajdenberg report.

     

  • French football stars cry foul over UBS 'offshore' account allegations

     © Reuters © Reuters

    UBS and its subsidiary UBS France were earlier this year placed under formal investigation for conspiracy in illegal sales of banking services in a wide-ranging judicial probe into evidence suggesting the bank enabled wealthy French nationals to evade tax on assets deposited in undeclared Swiss accounts. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to documents that illustrate how UBS enticed wealthy French footballers to place their assets with the bank, and which raise further questions over its suspected complicity in tax fraud. Mathilde Mathieu, Michaël Hajdenberg and Dan Israel report.