On September 3, Cash Investigation, a French TV program, which "surveys wonderful businesses" joined the opening of a photo exhibition in the heart of Paris titled Azerbaijan, Land of Tolerance. Its sponsor, the Haydar Aliyev Foundation was represented by Mehriban Aliyeva, wife of Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.
Cash Investigation's reporter Elise Lucet was able to attend the gala and ask the Firsty Lady about the political prisoners in Azerbaijan. She was then pushed aside by the bodyguards while Mehriban Aliyeva continued greeting the guests.
For over a year now, Cash Investigation researched presidential trips and business deals signed between France and other countries. They have looked at the contracts, hidden partners, the human rights record of countries France President traveled to with enterprenuers and so on. The first country on their investigative list was Azerbaijan, "the most repressive dictatorship in the world" as described by the program, which did not stop the French President from visitng the country in May 2014.
For this investigative story, the reporters also spoke to a number of individuals, from Rachida Dati, French politician and member of the European Parliament to Thierry Mariani also French politician known for his close ties with the Aliyev regime. Both happen to be the board members of "Friends of Azerbaijan"- France-based association reinstated in 2014 and known for active promotion of Azerbaijan in France with financial links to the authorities in Baku.