Senior French minister quits after lobster dinner scandal

Source:AFP Published: 2019/7/17 20:33:41

A senior French cabinet minister resigned on Tuesday after reports accused him of extravagant state-funded lobster dinners and misusing public housing in a blow to the centrist government.

Francois de Rugy, who was named environment minister in September 2018, announced his departure after a week of revelations from the left-wing website Mediapart.

"The attacks and media lynching targeting my family force me to take the necessary step back," said De Rugy, who also held the post of minister of state which made him No.2 in the government after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne was appointed as France's new environment minister late Tuesday, the Elysee Palace said.

De Rugy came under public pressure after Mediapart published pictures of him and his journalist wife enjoying lavish champagne-and-lobster dinners and a Valentine's Day meal while he was speaker of parliament in 2017 and 2018.

The website alleged the events - at the expense of taxpayers - were largely social, while De Rugy contends they were part of his work representing the National Assembly. 

Mediapart also revealed that De Rugy had benefited from an apartment near his hometown of Nantes in western France that was rented at a preferential rate intended for low-income workers.

Posted in: EUROPE

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