• Revealed: the inflationary payroll at 'cost-cutting' French Senate

    French Senate president Gérard Larcher entered office on a high-profile campaign to cut spending and impose budgetary discipline within the French parliament's notoriously lavish upper house. Mediapart this month obtained access to the payroll of the president's private staff, and it reveals anything but austerity. The average monthly salary is 8,500 euros while his principal private secretary earns more than 19,000 euros, just a few hundred euros short of the pay of French Prime Minister François Fillon. Mathilde Mathieu and Michaël Hajdenberg report.

  • The sting in the tale of Tapie and the Crédit Lyonnais payout

     © Mediapart © Mediapart

    The controversy over the 403 million euros of public funds awarded in 2008 to French businessman Bernard Tapie in his dispute with French bank Crédit Lyonnais returned to the fore this month, lighting a fuse to a series of scandals-within-the-scandal. Laurent Mauduit reports.

  • From ‘honeymoon’ to war: what US cables said about French courtship of Gaddafi

    25 juillet 2007, Tripoli © Reuters 25 juillet 2007, Tripoli © Reuters

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy has assumed a high profile in the international military offensive launched to support the rebellion against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. But US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, and published here by Mediapart, shed a revealing light upon previously sweet relations between Sarkozy and Gaddafi (photo), described by one American ambassador as a "honeymoon" period of "high hopes for lucrative contracts".

  • When France protected on-the-run Balkan war lords

    Ante Gotovina. © (dr) Ante Gotovina. © (dr)

    Mediapart has obtained access to secret notes belonging to a now-retired senior French intelligence officer which establish how for years the French secret services collaborated with suspected war criminals, military officers from the former Yugoslavia, while they were wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) based in The Hague. Among them was Croatian General Ante Gotovina (photo), finally captured in the Canary Islands in 2005, as revealed in this investigation by Jean-Arnault Dérens and Laurent Gesli.

  • Poor and powerless: the Paris suburb where slumlords rule the roost

    The privately-owned, 1960s-built ‘Chêne Pointu' housing estate (photo) in the run-down Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois contains 1,500 apartments. Slumlords rule the roost here, where more than two-thirds of inhabitants live below the poverty line and insalubrious, overcrowded flats are rented, room by room, for as much as 1,800 euros per month. The local authorities complain that they are largely powerless to combat the blatantly illegal practices. Edouard Zambeaux investigates.
  • How France's struggling press sinks 1 billion euros in subsidies

    By and

    The French press industry receives a staggering one billion euros annually in State aid, amounting to a "fiasco" and a "scandal" according to a government-commissioned study. Now newspaper publishers are under pressure to restructure or die before the tap runs dry. But, as David Medioni and Vincent Truffy report here, time is fast running out on a business still unable to define its future.

  • Oil giant Total faces $170 billion damages claim


    A Paris court ruling has left French oil giant Total facing a claim for 170 billion dollars (131 billion euros) over a contract negotiated in Russia 20 years ago by a defunct subsidiary. No corporate entity has ever before faced a damages claim for such a huge and potentially devastating amount. Martine Orange reveals a Kafkaesque legal drama with a colourful cast that includes an entrepreneur and former F1 racing driver known as ‘Dédé the Sardine' and the late French novelist Françoise Sagan.

  • How the Ben Ali regime spooked a nation

     © Reuters © Reuters

    The fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak followed directly the overthrow in January of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The two strongmen had much in common, beginning with their secret police. Mediapart has obtained official documents seized during the strife in Tunisia which illustrate the extent of the Ben Ali regime's nationwide web of informers, ranging from taxi drivers to undercover agent 'activists'.

  • The French foreign minister, Ben Ali and the jet

    Bombardier © DR Bombardier © DR

    A private jet used by French foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie while holidaying in strife-torn Tunisia for the New Year belonged to a company run by the reviled brother-in-law of deposed Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Mediapart can reveal (along with the aircraft's intriguing flight log).

  • Secret French spy reports point to bribes behind Karachi blast

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    In May 2002, a group of 11 French engineers died in a bomb attack on their minibus in Karachi, Pakistan. They were helping to build submarines sold to Pakistan in a murky deal involving huge bribe payments. For years the blast was officially attributed to Islamic terrorists, a theory now dismissed. Mediapart has gained exclusive access to secret intelligence reports, hidden for almost nine years, which strengthen suspicions of a cover-up in a political scandal that runs all the way to the doors of the French presidency.