Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev (left) with then French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Astana on October 6th 2009 when they signed the contract for two EADS satellites. © Reuters
A French judicial investigation into suspected corruption surrounding the sale to Kazakhstan of satellites made by aerospace giant EADS, now renamed Airbus Group, has discovered the trace of a mysterious payment of 8.8 million euros made by the group to an offshore company whose true owners are unknown, apparently even to Airbus. The investigation also centres on the sale to Kazakhstan by EADS of 45 helicopters, and the deepening scandal implicating Airbus in what has become dubbed “Kazakhgate” is joined by separate probes in France and Britain into the group’s alleged corrupt practices in past sales of its civil aircraft. Martine Orange and Yann Philippin report.
Tariq Ramadan. © Reuters
The prominent Islamic intellectual, scholar and preacher Tariq Ramadan has taken leave of absence from his post as professor at Oxford University after being accused of rape and violent assault by two women who last month filed formal complaints against him in France. Other French women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and domination, and in Switzerland former female pupils of his have accused him of sexual advances, including one who was aged just 14 at the time of the reported events. Ramadan has vigorously denied the allegations, denouncing “a campaign of calumny”. Marine Turchi investigates the claims and the reasons why they have emerged so late after the alleged events.
The financial crime branch of France’s public prosecution services has widened the remit of a judicial investigation into suspected corruption in a sale of French helicopters to Kazakhstan to include the suspected involvement of France’s intelligence services in a plan to protect a businessman close to the Kazakh president from prosecution in Belgium. The move follows revelations by Mediapart and Belgian daily Le Soir of evidence suggesting the intelligence services were manipulated by officials of the French presidency under Nicolas Sarkozy in order to seal the deal worth a total of 2 billion euros. Yann Philippin reports in collaboration with Mediapart's Belgian press partners in this investigation, Alain Lallemand (Le Soir), Thierry Denoël (Le Vif) and Mark Eeckhaut (De Standaard).
Eight of the terrorists behind attacks against Europe. From left to right and from top to bottom: Oussama Atar, Boubakeur el-Hakim, Salim Benghalem, Samir Nouad, Abdelnacer Benyoucef, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Najim Laachraoui and Ahmad Alkhald. © DR
Jihadi veterans have been seeking to cause disarray among European intelligence agencies with hoax attacks that distract from real ones and attempts to infiltrate public agencies and companies. As a result security official are having huge difficulties in trying to measure the true scale of the terrorist threat that faces us. In the last of this lengthy series of investigations on Islamic State's intelligence operations, Matthieu Suc reports on the dangers still posed by jihadist agents operating within Europe despite Islamic State's major reverses in Iraq and Syria.
Top civil servant and Armed Forces minister Florence Parly. © Reuters
A French government minister's declarations of her past income have shed a stark light on the system of privileges enjoyed by an elite group of civil servants in France. That system allowed Florence Parly, a career civil servant who is now minister for the Armed Forces, to take up lucrative jobs outside the civil service without ever risking her security of employment. She even managed to negotiate a golden handshake from Air France worth around half a million euros. Laurent Mauduit reports.
End of the affair? Richard Ferrand, head of the Parliamentary group of Emmanuel Macron's LREM party. © Reuters
When prosecutors announced in October 2017 that they were not pursuing an investigation into the financial allegations surrounding Richard Ferrand, who is now president of Emmanuel Macron's political party at the National Assembly, it seemed the end of the matter. However, an analysis of the preliminary investigation report by Mediapart shows that from start to finish Ferrand looked after his partner's interests in a property deal with a mutual health firm, even though he was managing director of that company at the time. Now anti-corruption groups are calling for an independent judge to re-open the case and investigate. Mathilde Mathieu reports.
Volkswagen supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch. © Reuters
Between 2014 and 2016, German carmaker Volkswagen placed 5.8 billion euros into a financial structure, run by a staff of five, it registered in Luxembourg, and which paid just 1.7 million euros in taxes on the sum. It is one example of an elaborate system of ‘tax optimisation’ created by the giant group in 2012, despite assurances by its supervisory board chairman, Hans Dieter Pötsch, when he was financial director, that “we have never played such games”. Yann Philippin, Martin Hesse, Simon Hage and Blaz Zgaga report.
Nicolas Sarkozy and his right-hand man Claude Guéant, March 27th, 2012. © Reuters
Police officers from France's anti-corruption squad, the OCLCIFF, have produced a preliminary and damning report into the claims that the Libyan regime under Muammar Gaddafi funded the 2007 presidential election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy. It raises questions about the role of Éric Woerth who at the time was treasurer of Sarkozy's campaign, later became a minister and is now president of the finance committee at the National Assembly. Meanwhile judges have ordered the seizure of properties belonging to Sarkozy's former chief-of-staff and right-hand man, Claude Guéant. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
Jean-Paul Gut, director of EADS International and group strategy until June 2007. © dr
The former commercial director of EADS – now Airbus – Jean-Paul Gut, who set up the commercial and marketing system that is now at the centre of parallel corruption investigations by French and British police, received a 'golden parachute' of around 80 million euros, it can be revealed. A joint investigation by Mediapart and German weekly Der Spiegel also shows that the European aerospace group was willing to continue using Gut as a highly-paid consultant even after he left his lucrative post in 2007.
Airbus Group CEO Thomas Enders. © Reuters
A joint investigation by Mediapart and German weekly Der Spiegel reveals here how Airbus Group chief executive Thomas Enders has become personally implicated in allegations that the aerospace giant created a slush fund to pay intermediaries secret commissions, and “sweeteners” to politicians, in order to obtain a contract for the sale of 18 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Austria. Martine Orange, Yann Philippin and Lea Fauth report.