Investigations

  • French medical watchdog 'slow to act over faulty breast implant scandal'

    By

    Mediapart has seen a confidential internal document that criticises France's medical watchdog for not reacting fast enough to fears that thousands of women were being fitted with sub-standard breast implants made by French company Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP). The report, written by an employee of the agency, claims that it could have prevented up to 10,000 women from having the implants, which posed a risk of rupturing and damaging their health. The agency insists it has nothing to hide and strongly denies removing any damaging details from its own official report into its handling of the affair. Michel de Pracontal reports.

  • Head of French speeding ticket agency gets his own fines paid by the state

    By Stéphanie Fontaine

    Jean-Jacques Debacq, the man in charge of collecting speeding fines in France, frequently makes tough public statements about the need to crack down on motorists who break the rules on French roads. But Mediapart can reveal that Debacq has got his own agency to pay for speeding and parking offences relating to his own civil service car. Moreover, the senior public official has escaped penalty points on his driving licence by claiming that the speeding driver of that vehicle 'had not been identified'. The ministry of the interior says they are investigating the allegations. Stéphanie Fontaine reports.

    (Debacq resigned from his post following the publication of this article - see update at bottom of article page)

     

  • Interpol’s multi-million-euro deal to play policeman for the drugs giants

    By Mathieu Martinière et Robert Schmidt

    The international police cooperation organization Interpol earlier this year entered into an agreement with the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms for a joint programme to halt the circulation of counterfeit drugs, for which the firms will pay Interpol 4.5 million euros. But the backdrop to what may appear a laudable exercise to crack down on bogus drugs that yearly claim hundreds of thousands of lives is the drugs industry’s campaign against the production of low-cost generic medicines in emerging economies, and which provide a lifeline to many in poor countries. The relationship between French drugs giant Sanofi and Interpol raises further questions about the deal. Has Interpol become a tool for the pharmaceutical giants to maintain a stranglehold on access to medicines? This investigation by Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt is published jointly by Mediapart, monthly magazine Lyon Capitale and German weekly Die Zeit.

  • How the French budget minister secreted his personal funds across the globe

    J. Cahuzac. © (Reuters) J. Cahuzac. © (Reuters)

    Disgraced French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac in April finally admitted holding a secret, tax-evading bank account abroad, the existence of which was first revealed by Mediapart in December 2012. Now Mediapart can lift some of the mystery that surrounded the complex web of structures which allowed Cahuzac to move his hidden funds across the globe, from Switzerland to Singapore via the Seychelles, allegedly with the help of a Dubai-based former board member of the Swiss bank Reyl & Co. Mathilde Mathieu, Fabrice Arfi and Dan Israel report.

  • 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

    By
     © 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.