Investigations

  • The French-built stealth offroader that may be hiding Gaddafi

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    Amid continuing speculation over the whereabouts of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Mediapart has obtained exclusive details of a highly sophisticated ‘stealth' four-wheel drive armoured vehicle sold by France to Libya in 2008 for the dictator's safe transport. The modified Mercedes can "instantaneously detect over 2,000 threats" according to French company Bull which developed the vehicle's security system (illustration) as part of a controversial weapons and security contract negotiated with Tripoli by President Nicolas Sarkozy's staff. The deal included equipment presented as "an inviolable solution to the Anglo-American espionage system". Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on a deal that may still be ensuring mobile refuge for on-the-run Gaddafi.

  • Arms dealer probe brings illegal funding scandal closer to Sarkozy

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     © dr © dr

    Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine (photo), who enjoys longstanding close personal and professional links to ranking French presidential staff and ministers past and present, was on Wednesday formally placed under investigation - a French legal move that precedes official charges - for "aiding and abetting the misuse of company assets" and "receiving" the proceeds, during his role as an intermediary in a controversial weapons sale to Pakistan. The move is highly embarrassing for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, pointing a finger directly at both him and his entourage all of whom are now engulfed in a scandal of suspected illegal party funding involving massive secret kickbacks from a series of official arms deals. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • Divorce court freezes arms broker’s assets

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    Ziad Takieddine Ziad Takieddine

    In a series of exclusive reports that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the long-standing close links between France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisers and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy, before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal how the businessman's financial and property assets have been frozen ahead of his imminent divorce and assess what the implications are for the investigation into the Karachi affair.

  • How French intelligence shields the Sarkozy clan’s unofficial emissary

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    In a series of exclusive reports that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the longstanding close links between France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisers and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy, before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal how the French intelligence agency, the DGSE, has sought to conceal all it knows about the businessman's activities.

  • When Total paid the bill for the Elysée's secret emissary

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    France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale to Pakistan. In a series of investigations that began in July, Mediapart has revealed how Takieddine has long served as a secret diplomatic and business emissary for the staff of Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske unravel how Takieddine, backed by Sarkozy's Elysée Palace chief-of-staff, was paid almost 7 million euros by oil group Total in a gas field deal with the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

  • Exclusive: the damning report by French magistrates on Christine Lagarde's suspected crimes

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    Mediapart has obtained exclusive access to the scathing conclusions of a French court that prompted its decision earlier this month to open an investigation into IMF chief Christine Lagarde's suspected 'aiding and abetting falsification' and 'misappropriation of public funds' when she was French finance minister. The magistrates from France's Court of Justice of the Republic detail why they suspect that she acted personally to ensure that French tycoon Bernard Tapie, who leant public support to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign, received a payout of 403 million euros from the public purse through an arbitration procedure.
  • The case of the arms dealer, Gaddafi's nephew and the beaten-up London escort girls

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    France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale to Pakistan. In a series of investigations that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the very close and longstanding links between Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president - and for whose office he served as a secret diplomatic and commercial emissary. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal how Takieddine, while negotiating a rapprochement between France and Libya, served as a protector for Colonel Mumamar Gaddafi's nephew Mohammed al-Senussi (photo) after he was charged in London with causing ‘grievous bodily harm' to two escort girls.

  • France's secret diplomacy with Syria, and the arms dealer who played emissary

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    M. Sarkozy et Assad © Reuters M. Sarkozy et Assad © Reuters

    In a series of exclusive reports that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the longstanding close links between France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy, before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal Takieddine's highly sensitive role as secret emissary for the French presidency in securing close diplomatic and commercial ties with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

  • Exclusive: how President Sarkozy’s team dealt with Gaddafi

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    MM. Sarkozy et Guéant © Reuters MM. Sarkozy et Guéant © Reuters

    Mediapart has obtained confidential documents that reveal how international arms dealer Ziad Takieddine was mandated by Nicolas Sarkozy's staff, before and after he became president, to negotiate on their behalf major weapons and security contracts with the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

    • Takieddine was notably an intermediary for the sale of a French encrypted signals system to protect the Libyan regime from surveillance by the US-led Western communications interception network known as ‘Echelon'.
    • Mediapart can also reveal that President Sarkozy's former chief-of-staff, the current French interior minister Claude Guéant misled, while under oath, a French parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances of French involvement in the freeing of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic jailed in Libya, in 2007.
  • The arms dealer and his Paris party for the glitterati

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    MM. Mougeotte et Copé et Mlle Rousseau chez Ziad Takieddine. © (dr.) MM. Mougeotte et Copé et Mlle Rousseau chez Ziad Takieddine. © (dr.)

    In a series of reports that began July 11th, Mediapart has revealed the close links between businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and ranking members of President Nicolas Sarkozy's entourage, including ministers past and present. The documents and photos exclusively obtained by Mediapart raise important questions over the political relations and the role of the Franco-Lebanese intermediary who is regarded as a key witness in an ongoing judicial investigation into suspected illegal political financing in France via commissions paid in weapons sales abroad, notably a sale of French submarines to Pakistan. In this sixth report, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske return to a lavish party thrown by Takieddine in 2002 for a glittering guest list of French movers and shakers from the worlds of politics, the media, business and the lofty ranks of the civil service.