Paris probes luxury dinner party claims amid COVID curbs

French prosecutors launched an investigation into claims that luxury dining clubs are flouting COVID-19 restrictions.

It follows the airing Friday evening of an undercover report by network M6, which showed unmasked guests enjoying champagne meals in what appears to be an upmarket restaurant in Paris.

One person, introduced as an organizer of the parties and identified in various media as celebrity Pierre-Jean Chalençon, says in the footage “I’ve dined this week in two or three restaurants that are so-called clandestine restaurants, with a certain number of ministers.”

Chalençon’s statement was just “humor” and it’s to be taken with a “sense of the absurd,” his lawyer later told Agence France-Presse.

However, the Paris prosecutor’s office launched a criminal investigation Sunday, looking to identify breaches of health regulations and track potential organizers and attendees. France this weekend imposed fresh nationwide coronavirus restrictions.

Interior minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted: “I asked Paris police to verify the accuracy of the reported facts in order to — if they are verified — charge the organizers and the participants of these clandestine dinners.”

Junior Minister for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa said: “If ministers or members of parliament have breached rules, then they need to be fined and penalized like any citizen.”

The topic and video have gone viral on social media under hashtags like #OnVeutLesNoms, #OnVeutDesNoms and #RestaurantsClandestins.

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