Investigations

  • Sarkozy-Libya funding affair: paparazzi boss Michèle Marchand detained over alleged bail breach

    'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP 'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP

    French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians and confidante of presidents, has been taken into custody for breaching bail conditions. Earlier in June Marchand, nicknamed 'Mimi', was placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in relation to an aspect of the long-running investigation into suspected Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign. But she was subsequently released on bail. However, Mediapart has learnt from several sources that she was taken into detention on Friday June 18th for apparently breaching a condition of that bail. Fabrice ArfiKarl LaskeYann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

  • French paparazzi agency boss under investigation for witness tampering in Sarkozy-Libya funding affair

    Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP

    French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians, was on Saturday placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy. The move relates to the public retraction by a key witness of part of his previous testimony to a judicial probe that Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was funded by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • Rafale Papers: when Dassault middleman engaged a former Indian lieutenant general

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    Sushen Gupta, the Indian business intermediary paid several million euros for his role in helping French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation conclude its sale to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets, provided remunerations to a former high-ranking Indian army officer and his daughter via offshore companies, involving questionable services and invoices. The retired officer and his daughter insist nothing illegal took place. Yann Philippin reports.   

  • Paris train and bus operator RATP accused over handling of sexual violence cases

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    Some of the staff or former staff at RATP have spoken on Mediapart's 'À l’air libre' programme. © Mediapart Some of the staff or former staff at RATP have spoken on Mediapart's 'À l’air libre' programme. © Mediapart

    The huge public transport operator for the Paris region, Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens, better known by its initials RATP, faces claims over the way it handles allegations of sexual and sexist violence against its female staff. Pregnant employees say they have been badly treated, some women say that perpetrators of sexual violence against them have gone unpunished, while others say that the transport operator's internal procedures dealing with such allegations are not sufficiently clear. Célia Mebroukine investigates the allegations involving the world’s fourth largest public transport operator.

  • The rise of a new terrorist threat in France: the ultra-right

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    A screengrab showing the ultra-right group Les Barjols. © Document Mediapart A screengrab showing the ultra-right group Les Barjols. © Document Mediapart

    A report by prosecutors in Paris warns about the return of a terrorist threat from the ultra-right, Mediapart can reveal. Based on an analysis of seven separate investigations into allegations of terrorist conspiracies, the report details the groups' professionalism, their ability to arm themselves and the varied profiles of the activists, some of whom are highly-integrated members of society. Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.

     

  • Mahamat Mahdi Ali: the Chad rebel leader targeted by France

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    Mahdi Ali Mahamat in 2017. © Capture d’écran/Facebook Mahdi Ali Mahamat in 2017. © Capture d’écran/Facebook

    The veteran Chad leader Idriss Déby Itno, a close ally of France for many years, died in April, reportedly after being wounded on the battlefield fighting against an armed rebel group in the country. That group is the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), led by a man called Mahamat Mahdi Ali. The rebel leader has close links with France; he spent part of his life here and his family still lives in Reims, north east of Paris. He was also a member of the Socialist Party before he says he was “betrayed” by his former comrades when they were in government; he was subject to financial sanctions from the authorities in Paris over what he says are unfounded claims of links to terrorist groups. Some observers see the targeting of Mahamat Mahdi Ali as a favour by the authorities in Paris to the Déby regime, which has been a stalwart supporter of France's anti-terrorism strategy in the region. Rémi Carayol reports.

  • French commentator Éric Zemmour accused of sexual violence against women

    Journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour. © JOEL SAGET / AFP Journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour. © JOEL SAGET / AFP

    On April 24th 2021 a female councillor publicly accused French journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour of having forcibly kissed her. Mediapart has gathered the accounts of several other women who have also condemned the actions and behaviour of the journalist from Le Figaro newspaper and CNews news channel, whom some on the far-right want to be a candidate in next year's presidential election in France. When approached by Mediapart, Zemmour declined to respond to the allegations. Lénaïg Bredoux, David Perrotin and Marine Turchi report.

  • The grim reasons why French police officers have become prime targets for terrorists

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    Jihadist propaganda publications often target the French police. © DR Jihadist propaganda publications often target the French police. © DR

    The murder of a policewoman at Rambouillet, south west of Paris, on Friday April 23rd brought to 12 the number of members of the police and security forces who have been killed in terrorist attacks in France since 2015. Overall, attacks targeting police officers have grown in number over that period. This “French exception”  is a phenomenon which has become more prevalent since the collapse of Islamic State's self-styled 'Caliphate' in the Middle East. Matthieu Suc reports.

  • Probe launched into racist comments at France's school for judges

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    School for judges: the École nationale de la magistrature (ENM) at Bordeaux. © Valentino BELLONI / Hans Lucas via AFP School for judges: the École nationale de la magistrature (ENM) at Bordeaux. © Valentino BELLONI / Hans Lucas via AFP

    Documents seen by Mediapart reveal that some students at the school where France's future judges and prosecutors are trained used racist language on a private online document. The comments made by the students, who are poised to graduate from the École Nationale de la Magistrature and start their careers, include “France for the French” and “Arabs Out”. The college's authorities informed prosecutors in Bordeaux who have now opened a criminal investigation. David Perrotin reports.

  • Dodgy dossier: scandal of investigation into petrol bomb attack on French police

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    À Viry-Châtillon, le 8 octobre 2016. © Thomas Samson / AFP À Viry-Châtillon, le 8 octobre 2016. © Thomas Samson / AFP

    On April 18th 2021 five youths were found guilty on appeal of an attack in 2016 in which two police officers were set ablaze when their patrol car was pelted with petrol bombs in a Paris suburb. The five were given jail terms of between six and 18 years. Eight other youths were acquitted. The appeal verdicts, which were more lenient than the original trial in 2019, caused outrage among some politicians and led to a protest march by angry police officers. But Mediapart can reveal that the real scandal was the way in which police detectives ran the initial investigation into the brutal attack in Viry-Châtillon. Officers truncated or cut out entire sections of what suspects said in custody. They also put pressure on them to implicate other youths from the area. Lawyers for some of those involved have described it as a “legal scandal” and formal complaints have now been made to prosecutors about the conduct of the detectives. Pascale Pascariello reports.