Investigations

  • Revealed: another shocking case of Paris police violence

    By and Armel Baudet
    CCTV images captured the illegal arrests of six innocent young men in April 2019, and the moment one officer fired at their vehicle (full video in the article page). CCTV images captured the illegal arrests of six innocent young men in April 2019, and the moment one officer fired at their vehicle (full video in the article page).

    As incidents of police violence and the failure of the authorities to effectively address the issue continue to occupy public debate in France, Mediapart reveals here, with video footage, the violent and illegal arrests in Paris of six innocent young men by gun-wielding officers, one of whom fired bullets into their car. In what has all the appearance of a cover-up, not only was one of the six victims sent for trial for violence, but the officer who shot at him without any justification is still on duty because, the police administration claimed, prosecutors concluded he acted in self-defence. Which is untrue. Pascale Pascariello and Armel Baudet report.

  • The Beirut mega-blast: a reconstruction of the timeline of an avoidable tragedy

    By Forensic Architecture and Mada Masr
    An image taken seconds before the mega-blast in the port of Beirut on August 4th 2020, as analysed by Forensic Architecture. © Forensic Architecture © FA An image taken seconds before the mega-blast in the port of Beirut on August 4th 2020, as analysed by Forensic Architecture. © Forensic Architecture © FA

    On August 4th this year, a huge explosion ripped through the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut and the surrounding city neighbourhoods, killing more than 200 people, wounding more than 6,500 others and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. It was so powerful that the shockwaves and tremors it caused were recorded hundreds of kilometres away. Now, London-based independent research group Forensic Architecture has produced a remarkable video report with 3D imaging, using documented evidence and expert input, to piece together a precise chronology of the multiple causes of the explosion, and which Mediapart presents here.

  • The French firms servicing UAE’s Mirage jets used in support of Libyan warlord

    By
    Two UAE Mirage fighters pictured at the Sidi Barrani base in Egypt on May 5th 2020. © Satellite image © 2020 Maxar Technologies Two UAE Mirage fighters pictured at the Sidi Barrani base in Egypt on May 5th 2020. © Satellite image © 2020 Maxar Technologies

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is actively involved in Libya’s civil war in support of warlord Khalifa Haftar’s campaign to topple the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli. That military support involves the deployment of the UAE’s French-built Mirage fighter planes, which are suspected of firing missiles at civilian sites, representing potential war crimes. Those same aircraft are given technical maintenance and upgrades by French defence firms acting with government approval, raising serious questions about France’s compliance with international law.

  • The former top cop at the Élysée and his links with the Corsican underworld

    By and Brendan Kemmet
    Screen grab of Lionel Lavergne during one of the hearings at the National Assembly into the Benalla affair. © DR Screen grab of Lionel Lavergne during one of the hearings at the National Assembly into the Benalla affair. © DR

    The name of senior gendarme officer Lionel Lavergne cropped up during an investigation into a Corsican 'mafia' godfather in 2014, Mediapart has learnt. Yet despite the astonishing contents of phone-taps in the case, that same year the gendarme was appointed number two in charge of protecting the president at the Élysée. When subsequently told by a senior official at the Élysée that he would not get promoted to the top post, Colonel Lavergne retorted: “You don't know who you are dealing with.” He later got the top post, working as head of Élysée security for presidents François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron from 2017 to 2019. Matthieu Suc and Brendan Kemmet report on the results of a Mediapart investigation that goes back five years.

  • Libyan funding of Sarkozy campaign: Takieddine retracts, the evidence remains

    By and
    Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Paris on December 10th 2007. © FRANCK FIFE / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Paris on December 10th 2007. © FRANCK FIFE / AFP

    Ziad Takieddine, the ruined businessman who is on the run after being convicted in a separate political corruption case in France, has told Paris Match magazine and BFM-TV news channel that there was “no Libyan funding” of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. This contradicts what he has previously told a judicial investigation into the affair and various media. But he maintains that he did hand over cash to Sarkozy's former chief of staff Claude Guéant. The former president himself immediately made clear his delight at Takieddine's retraction. Just a few days ago Sarkozy had described the middleman as a “madman” and a “manipulator”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • The grim inside story of how France struggled to deal with the Covid dead

    By Lou syrah
    A scene of mourning at Strasbourg, north-east France, November 1st 2020. © AFP A scene of mourning at Strasbourg, north-east France, November 1st 2020. © AFP

    A report from a French government department has highlighted the major problems that took place as the country dealt with the victims of the epidemic in the spring. These included the enforced cremations of some of those who died, and funeral staff being exposed to danger of infection. The document, seen by Mediapart, contains a number of recommendations about what the state should do in the future. But as Lou Syrah reports, there are fears that without swift action the authorities could face similar problems - and greater anger - during the second wave.

  • Revealed: the violence of a French police unit and how they tried to conceal it

    By
    Officers from the CSI 93 police unit at Saint-Ouen north of Paris on April 2nd 2020 . © Ludovic Marin / AFP Officers from the CSI 93 police unit at Saint-Ouen north of Paris on April 2nd 2020 . © Ludovic Marin / AFP

    A suspect detained by a group of French police officers north of Paris was kicked in the head, tasered and had excrement smeared on his jacket even though he was restrained at the time. Mediapart is publishing extracts from a report by the police watchdog which showed the scale of the violence meted out by the officers as well as the efforts they made to cover up their acts. Yet as Pascale Pascariello reports, only one of the five officers involved is due to face the courts over their actions.

  • The air pollution threat posed by Paris's 2024 Olympic Games preparations

    By
    The Pleyel à Venir collective, who are opposed to the new works, took part in the public inquiry in Paris in June 2019. © JL The Pleyel à Venir collective, who are opposed to the new works, took part in the public inquiry in Paris in June 2019. © JL

    In readiness for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris the authorities are building a new motorway junction to service the Olympic Village for athletes. However, this busy junction at Saint-Denis, north of Paris, is close to a school complex for 700 pupils. French administrative courts have just approved the project, despite the fact that, as documents seen by Mediapart show, the junction is likely to worsen air pollution in the area. Opponents meanwhile point to anti-pollution measures taken outside schools in the centre of the capital and claim that pupils in the city's rundown suburbs are being discriminated against. Jade Lindgaard reports.

  • Libyan funding case: what Sarkozy told the judges

    By and
    Left to right: Claude Guéant, Nicolas Sarkozy and Brice Hortefeux in June 2005. © PASCAL PAVANI / AFP Left to right: Claude Guéant, Nicolas Sarkozy and Brice Hortefeux in June 2005. © PASCAL PAVANI / AFP

    Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was subjected to four days of questioning earlier this month by judges leading a complex investigation into evidence of Libyan funding of his 2007 election campaign, at the end of which he was formally placed under investigation for “criminal conspiracy”. Mediapart has obtained access to the transcripts of the interrogation, during which he insisted on his innocence and laid responsibility for any wrongdoing on his two longstanding, loyal right-hand men, Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, describing their dealings with Libya and intermediaries as, variously, “incomprehensible”, an “error” and a “mistake”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

  • The MEPs shaping the Common Agricultural Policy and receiving its handouts

    By
    MEPs in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, September 16th 2020. © AFP MEPs in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, September 16th 2020. © AFP

    Among the Members of the European Parliament are a group of farmers and others with agricultural interests who benefit directly from the subsidies provided for in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The fact that many of them are at the forefront of negotiations to map out the reform of the CAP, to be put to a vote during this week, raises a clear question of conflicts of interest. Amélie Poinssot reports.