Investigations

  • 'Rafale Papers': the 'bogus invoices' used to help French firm clinch sale of jets to India

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    Dassault Aviation's CEO Eric Trappier, left, with the group's middleman in India, Sushen Gupta. © Sebastien Calvet / Mediapart, avec AFP et PTI. Dassault Aviation's CEO Eric Trappier, left, with the group's middleman in India, Sushen Gupta. © Sebastien Calvet / Mediapart, avec AFP et PTI.

    Mediapart is today publishing the alleged false invoices that enabled French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation to pay at least 7.5 million euros in secret commissions to a middleman to help secure the sale of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft to India. Yet despite the existence of these documents, the Indian federal police has decided not to pursue the affair and has not begun an investigation. Yann Philippin reports.

  • How France's postal service has failed to deliver on cutting CO2 emissions

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    The graph shows the performance of La Poste's mail transport in terms of C02 emissions over 15 years. © Mediapart The graph shows the performance of La Poste's mail transport in terms of C02 emissions over 15 years. © Mediapart

    In its public utterances France's portal service La Poste makes great play of its “carbon neutrality”. Yet an analysis shows that over the last decade and a half the publicly-owned postal group has been emitting more and more carbon dioxide each year transporting letters and parcels. The reason for this is the operator's complete reliance on using the most polluting forms of transport – air and road – to carry the mail. Mediapart's environment correspondent Jade Lindgaard reports.

  • Brigitte Macron's embarrassing chat with paparazzi boss under investigation for 'criminal conspiracy'

    Michèle Marchand (left) with Brigitte Macron in the northern town of Le Touquet during presidential election campaigning in April 2017. © Photo illustration Mediapart avec Eric Feferberg / AFP Michèle Marchand (left) with Brigitte Macron in the northern town of Le Touquet during presidential election campaigning in April 2017. © Photo illustration Mediapart avec Eric Feferberg / AFP

    In a tapped phone conversation in July, Brigitte Macron, wife of France’s president, told paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer to politicians who is formally placed under investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in a case related to a probe into suspected Libyan funding of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign, that she was to contact her security officer for help “if you get bother”. After she encouraged Marchand to “stay firm” following the latter's release from jail, Brigitte Macron also deplored the “terrible” judicial treatment of Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

  • Revealed: how former hostage Sophie Pétronin secretly returned to Mali

    By Anthony Fouchard 
    Sophie Pétronin with her son Sébastien and his own son on her arrival back in France on October 9th 2020. © AF Sophie Pétronin with her son Sébastien and his own son on her arrival back in France on October 9th 2020. © AF

    News emerged at the weekend that former French hostage Sophie Pétronin, 76, who was held captive for almost four years by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Mali until her release in October last year, secretly returned to the West African country in March, and has since been living with her adopted daughter in the capital Bamako. Her presence in the country was made public after the Malian authorities on Saturday issued a warrant for her arrest, for reasons that are still unclear. In this report for Mediapart, journalist Anthony Fouchard, who is close to Pétronin and her family, reveals the details of how the humanitarian worker, together with her son, succeeded in the long clandestine journey to Bamako.  

     

  • Mystery of Macron's brutal power play against France's antitrust authority

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    The former president of the antitrust body the Autorité de la concurrence, Isabelle de Silva, who was removed by Emmanuel Macron. © ERIC PIERMONT / AFP The former president of the antitrust body the Autorité de la concurrence, Isabelle de Silva, who was removed by Emmanuel Macron. © ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

    Abruptly and without any warning, the Élysée decided that it was not renewing Isabelle de Silva's contract as the president of France's competition authority the Autorité de la Concurrence from October 13th. The decision, which has reportedly surprised and dismayed government ministers as well as many observers, was taken so late that a successor has not yet been lined up. The main theory to explain Emmanuel Macron's shock move is that the highly-respected De Silva was seen as an obstacle to the proposed merger between two private French TV companies, TF1 and the smaller M6, a tie-up that the Élysée favours. More generally, the independent Autorité de la Concurrence is also seen as a block to Emmanuel Macron's aim of creating large-scale national business champions. Martine Orange reports.

  • Macron's discreet support for climate-harming oil project in Uganda

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    Crude oil containers on the shores of Lake Albert in the west of Uganda, January 24th 2020. © Photo Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP Crude oil containers on the shores of Lake Albert in the west of Uganda, January 24th 2020. © Photo Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP

    He has not spoken about it publicly. But behind the scenes the French head of state Emmanuel Macron has written to the president of Uganda supporting the role of French oil firm Total in developing an oilfield and a  lengthy new oil pipeline in the East African country. In the capital Kampala, meanwhile, the French embassy has  been wholeheartedly lobbying for the French multinational. Yet the projects are opposed by environmental and human rights groups who say they are not just bad for the climate but will also displace thousands of local people from their land. Mediapart's environment correspondent Jade Lindgaard reports.

  • How French firms profit from France's foreign aid agency

    By and Anthony Fouchard (Disclose)
    The Paris headquarters of the French Development Agency, the AFD. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The Paris headquarters of the French Development Agency, the AFD. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    France’s foreign aid agency, the AFD, which provides financial support for developing countries, funds projects in Africa to the tune of billions of euros in contracts in which the principal beneficiaries are French companies, while the details of a number of its activities are not made public for reasons of banking secrecy. Justine Brabant and Anthony Fouchard summarize here the findings of a series of investigations into the AFD's practices by Mediapart in partnership with online newsroom Disclose.

     

  • Phones of five French ministers found to be infected by Pegasus spyware

    By and
     © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet /Mediapart © Photo illustration Sébastien Calvet /Mediapart

    The mobile phones of five French government ministers were targeted by the Pegasus spyware sold to states worldwide by Israeli surveillance technology firm NSO Group, Mediapart can reveal. The presence of “markers” left by the spyware were discovered by an official French probe involving technical analyses of the devices. The development follows on revelations, first published in July, which found evidence that the surveillance tool was notably employed by NSO clients around the globe to target journalists, including two from Mediapart, politicians and regime opponents. Fabrice Arfi and Ellen Salvi report.

  • The fall of Macron and Hollande's Syrian 'friend'

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    Mohamad Izzat Khatab with François Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, former European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker, and former chief of the defence staff in France General Jean-Louis Georgelin. © Photomontage Mediapart Mohamad Izzat Khatab with François Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, former European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker, and former chief of the defence staff in France General Jean-Louis Georgelin. © Photomontage Mediapart

    He has been variously described as a “billionaire, a “peacemaker” and a key figure in “inter-faith dialogue”. For ten years French political and religious leaders have rolled out the red carpet for Mohamad Izzat Khatab, a Syrian businessman whose past is shrouded in mystery. According to an investigation by Mediapart, this fan of selfies taken with the rich and powerful has just been placed under investigation in relation to a vast fraud case. Antton Rouget reports.

  • French secret services fear Taliban victory may inspire homegrown terrorists

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    Screen grab from June 19th 2001 showing members of Al Qaeda marching at a training camp in Afghanistan. © HO/AFP Screen grab from June 19th 2001 showing members of Al Qaeda marching at a training camp in Afghanistan. © HO/AFP

    The Taliban's return to power in Kabul has raised fears about the potential knock-on effect that their victory will have in other parts of the world. French intelligence services believe that here the main danger is likely to come from the morale boost it will give to terrorists or potential terrorists already based in France. Matthieu Suc has spoken to members of the intelligence community to assess the potential threats following recent events in Afghanistan.