An investigation has been launched into accusations French government ministers dined in secret restaurants in violation of the country’s coronavirus restrictions.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said an investigation was opened on Sunday into possible charges of endangerment and undeclared labour.
They will also work to identify the organisers and participants of the alleged gatherings.
A documentary on French network M6 over the weekend included an unidentified man saying he has eaten in two or three clandestine restaurants “with a certain number of ministers”.
Secret camera footage allegedly taken in a high-end restaurant showed diners enjoying champagne and caviar while not observing social distancing rules or wearing masks.
- Coronavirus news live: Latest lockdown updates
- Boris Johnson to unveil ‘traffic light system’ for foreign holidays from 17 May
- Boris Johnson urged to sack Tory peer who denied Covid pandemic
- What time is Boris Johnson’s announcement today and how can I watch?
- Lockdown roadmap dates: What is reopening and when?
Government members quickly denied knowledge of such wrongdoing.
France’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, asked police to look into the claims.
On Monday, the prosecutor’s office said the investigation is continuing despite reports the man featured in the documentary had retracted his claim.
French restaurants have been closed since October to slow the spread of Covid-19 infections.
France has just entered a new partial lockdown in response to intensive care units filling up with Covid-19 patients again.
A government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, said on LCI television on Sunday night that authorities have been investigating reports of clandestine parties and restaurants for months.
He said 200 suspects have been identified and face “heavy punishment”.
Government ministers ‘have a duty to be totally irreproachable and exemplary,” Mr Attal added.
Additional reporting by AP
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies