Cristiano Ronaldo arriving at court in Madrid, January22nd, with his fiancee Georgina Rodriguez. © Reuters
Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo was on Tuesday ordered to pay an 18.8 million-euro fine by a Madrid court and was handed a 23-month suspended jail sentence after admitting tax fraud amounting to almost 15 million euros between 2011 and 2014. The case followed the Football Leaks revelations published in December 2016 by Mediapart and its partners in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) media consortium. But the former Real Madrid striker, whose wealth is estimated at more than 200 million euros, in fact escaped a far heavier sentence with the falsification of a document concerning his offshore payments on image rights, which Mediapart reveals here.
CRS riot police with HKG36 assault rifles in central Paris on January 12th. © DR
A document obtained by Mediapart reveals that the national director of France’s CRS riot police ordered the deployment of Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles during nationwide demonstrations on January 12th by the ‘yellow vest’ movement. The militarisation of policing tactics during the recurrent demonstrations, in protest over falling living standards for low- and middle-income earners, includes an almost systematic use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused numerous serious injuries. Karl Laske reports on the arsenal employed and the dramatic consequences of the escalating violence.
Emmanuel Macron with bodyguard Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters
The scandal surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, who was fired over media revelations that he violently assaulted participants in May Day marches in Paris this year while illegally wearing police apparel, escalated this month after Mediapart’s revelations that he has continued to use a diplomatic passport while conducting business trips abroad, notably in Israel and several African countries. Now, in an exclusive interview with Mediapart, he claims to continue to regularly discuss ongoing political issues with Macron, despite the Élysée’s insistence that he has “no further contact” with the French president. Benalla, 27, says his mobile phone records provide the truth of his claims, while he also accuses Macron’s entourage as behaving like a “mafia” against him. Fabrice Arfi reports on the deepening mystery of Benalla’s relationship with the French president.
Alexandre Benalla standing behind Emmanuel Macron when he served as the president's bodyguard. © Photo d'archives/REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Alexandre Benalla, the disgraced former personal security advisor and deputy cabinet chief to President Emmanuel Macron, who was dismissed from his post this summer after it was revealed he assaulted May Day marchers in Paris while wearing police insignia, has continued to travel in possession of a French diplomatic passport and notably during recent business trips to Israel and several African countries, Mediapart has learnt. The passport, valid for four years, was delivered to him on May 24th, three weeks after the May Day events for which he is now placed by magistrates under formal investigation. Fabrice Arfi and Antton Rouget report.
Clockwise from top left: Emmanuel Macron, Nicolas Sarkozy, Alexandre Djouhri and Alexandre Benalla. © Reuters
In recent weeks the current French president Emmanuel Macron has deepened his ties with former rightwing president Nicolas Sarkozy. The latter recently represented France at a ceremony in Georgia and the pair have lunched together. But by a curious coincidence two of their former allies, each of them facing judicial investigations in France, have also been meeting. They are Alexandre Benalla, President Macron's former security advisor who caused a scandal over the summer after he was filmed using violence against protestors in Paris on May 1st, and Alexandre Djouhri, a businessman and middleman who was close to Nicolas Sarkozy and who is awaiting extradition to France as part of the investigation into Libyan funding of Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. Fabrice Arfi reports.
Alexandre Benalla right, and Vincent Crase, left, in Paris, on May 1st 2018. © Reuters
An oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and suspected by several European judges of being linked to the Russian mafia, paid money to the company of a key figure in the scandal involving President Emmanuel Macron's former security advisor Alexandre Benalla. A payment of almost 300,000 euros was made to the company of gendarme reservist Vincent Crase in June 2018, at a time when the latter was still employed by the French president's party La République en Marche as the deputy 'security and safety' manager. Crase was with Alexandre Benalla when Macron's security advisor was caught on video using violence against demonstrators on May 1st 2018 in a scandal that rocked the French presidency over the summer. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget, Marine Turchi and Anastasia Kirilenko report.
French producer and director Luc Besson, February 17th 2018. © Reuters
Following Mediapart’s revelations in July of the accounts of four women who accuse French filmmaker Luc Besson of sexual misconduct, five more women have now come forward with new allegations against him of inappropriate sexual behaviour and which are detailed in this report. Besson, 59, the celebrated producer and director behind blockbuster films that notably include 'Nikita', ‘The Big Blue’, 'Leon', ‘The Fifth Element’ and 'Lucy', is the subject of a formal complaint for rape filed in France earlier this year by Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy, an accusation that the filmmaker firmly denies.
Yves Le Drian and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April 2018. © Reuters
On November 12th, 2018, Jean-Yves Le Drian insisted on French television that he was not aware of evidence supplied by Turkey regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi killers. Yet no fewer than seven French diplomats and intelligence agents have contradicted this claim by France's foreign minister. Thomas Cantaloube, Lucie Delaporte, René Backmann, Nicolas Cheviron, Matthieu Suc and Rachida El Azzouzi investigate.
Mohammed Hanzab, president of the ICSS, based in Doha, Qatar. © ICSS
In just a few years the International Centre for Sport Security, an NGO based in Doha, has made a name for itself in the global fight against corruption in sport. But Football Leaks reveals a hidden side to this organisation which is funded by the Qatari state and which works with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Sorbonne University in Paris. In April 2015 former police officers working for the ICSS went to Lausanne to tail one of the key figures in world sport, the Kuwaiti sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Mediapart's Antton Rouget and Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt from independent journalistic collective We Report investigate.
The vice-president and CEO of AS Monaco receives 10% of the profits made on the sale of players by the French football club, according to evidence from Football Leaks documents. Vadim Vasilyev, who is a close ally of club owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, is in line to receive up to 41 million euros in total from player transfers over the last five seasons.