French prosecutors are investigating whether senior ministers broke COVID-19 restrictions by dining in luxury restaurants

Sarah Al-Arshani
·1 min read
paris restaurant covid lockdown
Teddy bears placed at tables in Les Deux Magots restaurant in Paris, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. AP Photo/Francois Mori
  • French investigators are looking into whether senior ministers violated COVID-19 restrictions.

  • The Paris prosecutor's office opened the investigation on Sunday, France24 reported.

  • It comes after an M6 report said ministers were dining in luxury restaurants despite the lockdown.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

French prosecutors are investigating reports that senior ministers broke COVID-19 restrictions and dined in luxury restaurants in Paris, France24 reported.

The investigation, which was opened on Sunday by the Paris prosecutor's office, was prompted by an undercover report from the French outlet M6 that luxury restaurants in wealthy Parisian neighborhoods were allowing "private" dinners.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said the country would go into a four-week lockdown as France struggled to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases.

"We will lose control if we do not move now," Macron said in a televised address.

An unidentified man told M6 that he'd dined out in a few restaurants with a number of ministers, prompting French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to call for an investigation.

"We are still in a democracy," the man said in the M6 segment. "We do what we want."

The Washington Post reported that the man was identified as Pierre-Jean Chalençon, the owner of the Palais Vivienne venue in central Paris.

Chalençon then retracted his statement and said he was joking, but authorities said they're still investigating, France24 reported.

"There are not two types of citizens - those who have the right to party and those who do not," Darmanin said.

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