Mystery of a minister's ring

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Here is a case for Inspector Maigret or, perhaps, Inspector Clouseau. Who "stole" a €15,000 (£13,000) ring from the finger of the embattled French Justice Minister, Rachida Dati?

A front-page photograph of Mme Dati appeared in the pro-government newspaper Le Figaro on Wednesday. The Justice Minister was wearing no ring. The same photograph appeared in the same newspaper in June. Mme Dati was wearing a spectacular ring on the second finger of her left hand. Le Figaro admitted it had tampered with the photograph to remove the ring. But why?

Le Figaro's picture editor said: "We did not want the ring to become the subject of debate. Mme Dati had nothing to do with it. It was an error of judgement. It won't happen again."

President Nicolas Sarkozy, once criticised for his own addiction to bling, recently ordered ministers to avoid conspicuous displays of wealth during the economic downturn.