Macron forced to investigate own ministers over claims of illegal lockdown dinners

France investigating claims of ministers illegally dining

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Emmanuel Macron placed France into another national lockdown for four weeks meaning non-essential shops are closed and a curfew is in place. However, police have been cracking down on illegal dinners held in closed restaurants for most of the year including some being held at upper-class venues which serve menus costing up to £450. Secret camera footage believed to be at the Palais Vivienne in Paris appeared to incriminate several French ministers after one diner alleged they had dined with them at similar functions. 

M6 television channel in France attended one of the illicit parties where champagne and caviar was served to attendees. 

Censored footage showed staff and diners without masks and not maintaining social distancing. 

The gathering was also breaking curfew rules which are between 7pm-6am.

Later in the footage, one diner is heard speaking with a disguised voice stating he had visited many “clandestine” dinners like the one he was currently attending. 

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Pierre-Jean Chalencon, a former TV presenter and who runs the Palais Vivienne was identified as the diner in question and alleged ministers also ate with him at similar events. 

Mr Chalencon is being accused of hosting several dinners at the Palais Vivienne and has since retracted his comments. 

His lawyers released a statement to a French press agency stating he was the diner but did not meet with government ministers. 

Other ministers slammed the allegations and urged those responsible to come forward and be fined like anyone else. 

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Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said: “There are not two types of citizens – those who have the right to party and those who don’t.”

So far, the police say 200 suspects have been identified and will face “heavy punishment” for their involvement. 

French citizens exploded on social media urging the ministers to come forward with the hashtag “OnVeutLesNom” – meaning we want the names – trending on Twitter. 

But the ministers’ involvement in illegal parties is only one part of a bigger issue in France. 

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Bars and restaurants have been closed since October with many business owners desperate to reopen.

Tourism to Paris has also been hit as the capital faces a £13billion blackhole left behind by reduced traveller numbers. 

Police have been cracking down on restaurants hosting secret gatherings to stay afloat and have been dishing out fines and threats of closure as punishment. 

Marlene Schippa French Deputy Minister for Citizenship said: “Hundreds of illegal bars and restaurants have been forced to close by police.”

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