Ten men, including a former gendarme, have been arrested across France for their suspected role in a plot to attack Muslims. Mediapart can reveal that one of the suspects had been setting up his own laboratory to make explosives. Matthieu Suc, Marine Turchi and Jacques Massey report on the story behind the dramatic arrests and the murky world of the far-right in France.
Samir Shegwara, who has unearthed key documents relating to the bombing of a French airliner in 1989. © Mediapart
The recent revelations by Mediapart about the secret plot by Nicolas Sarkozy's followers to clear the name of a Libyan spy chief owe a great deal to one man: Samir Shegwara. It was this city councillor from Libya who sifted through the regime's old archives after the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 revolution. There he unearthed key documents about the bombing of the UTA DC 10 carried out by Libyans in 1989, and about the subsequent efforts by Sarkozy's team to help the man convicted over the terror attack - Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi. Mediapart went to meet him. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
Security chief Abdullah Senussi in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters
According to documents gathered by an elected official in Tripoli, in 2005 Nicolas Sarkozy's close friend and personal lawyer Thierry Herzog offered to get an arrest warrant and conviction against a senior Libyan official – who was blamed for a terrorist attack - quashed. The man in question, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi, had been jailed for life in his absence for masterminding the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airline DC10 passenger plane over Niger, in which 170 people lost their lives. The documents, seen by Mediapart, also show that Herzog was taken to Tripoli to discuss the affair by Francis Szpiner, the lawyer for the victims of the attack, though the latter has denied making the trip. The revelations point to a potential quid pro quo to explain why the Libyan regime would have been willing to help fund Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, claims over which the former president is being investigated. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.
Alexis Kohler at the Elysée Palace, January 3rd 2018. © Reuters
The French prosecution services have launched an investigation into suspected corruption by President Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff Alexis Kohler, following an official complaint lodged by anti-corruption NGO Anticor. The complaint cited revelations last month by Mediapart into Kohler’s role, when he was a senior civil servant, in affairs in which the interests of a shipping company owned by members of his close family were at stake. Mediapart’s Martine Orange, who first broke the story, details here the background to the case that now threatens the downfall of the man described by French daily Le Monde as “the most powerful senior civil servant in France”.
Vehicles from a European Union election monitoring team mission. © EU
More allegations of international aid workers’ sexual exploitation of the vulnerable people they are assigned to help were revealed last week in a mothballed United Nations report into the extent of an alleged ‘food for sex’ scandal involving numerous NGOs. The Times report followed revelations earlier this year by the paper about how Oxfam covered up evidence that its staff were involved in sex parties with prostitutes during operations in quake-devastated Haiti. But the scandalous behaviour of some involved in worthy international missions is not limited to the humanitarian sphere, as revealed by Fabien Offner in this report into the allegations of the conduct of staff involved in election monitoring missions, and in particular that of some EU election observers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.
Chrysler cars at the Detroit car show in January 2016. © Reuters
Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën are not the only car makers to have used the same software to increase the prices of their spare parts. Mediapart, working with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), Reuters and Belgian daily De Standaard, can reveal that 31 different car makers were approached to use the software and that at least three of them, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Chrysler, have employed it to boost revenue. Between them these five huge automobile manufacturers have raked in an extra 2.6 billion euros from motorists around the world. Yann Philippin reports.
Carlos Ghosn, left, the CEO of Renault, and Carlos Tavares, chairman of the board at PSA Peugeot Citroën. © Reuters
Confidential documents obtained by Mediapart and the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) show that the French car makers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën artificially inflated the already high cost of spares parts for motorists around the world. The manufacturers made use of a special software to increase the prices by an average of 15%. It is estimated the practice cost consumers around 1.5 billion euros over nearly ten years. Yann Philippin reports.
Under investigation: Éric Woerth. © Reuters
The current chairman of the powerful finance committee at the National Assembly, Éric Woerth, has been placed under formal investigation over the affair involving Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. Member of Parliament Woerth, who was treasurer of Sarkozy's campaign and later budget minister, faces an investigation over “collusion in illicit financing of an election campaign”. It is claim he concealed a massive influx of cash in the campaign accounts. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy is already under investigation in relation to the affair. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
Wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 found in eastern Ukraine on July 17th 2014. © CORRECT!V
An international investigation has concluded that the destruction of a Malaysia Airlines flight linking Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, which killed all 298 passengers and crew aboard, was caused by a missile from a Russian army anti-aircraft brigade, confirming a report published by Mediapart just six months after the horrific events. The attack occurred over territory held by pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists at the height of the secessionist conflict with the Ukraine government. The Joint International Team investigation, involving officials from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, have found that the missile which destroyed the plane “came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade based in Kursk in Russia”, just as the investigation by Mediapart media partner CORRECT!V had pieced together in this detailed report first published in January 2015.
The Russian loan contract signed by the head of the bank Roman Popov and Front National treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just. © Document Mediapart
Mediapart has obtained a copy of the contract for the 9 million euro loan that a Russian bank gave to France's far-right Front National (FN) in 2014. The document answers some of the questions in this murky affair but many remain. The bank later went bankrupt, its former director is wanted for alleged misappropriation of funds, the FN's loan has been sold on at least twice, and it is still not clear to whom it has to be repaid. Marine Turchi and Agathe Duparc report.