Law enforcement bust 100 at underground Paris restaurant

11 April, 2021
Law enforcement bust 100 at underground Paris restaurant
Paris law enforcement said Saturday (Apr 10) that they had fined more than 100 diners at an underground restaurant flouting COVID-19 limitations and arrested its organiser, after a week of allegations that ministers attended equivalent rule-breaking events.

Officers were "called out for an excessive noise complaint in regards to a restaurant" late Friday and "put an end to a gathering of above 110 persons", the French capital's police posted on Twitter.

"Guests fined for failing woefully to respect applicable health steps. Organiser and supervisor arrested," they added.

The prosecutor's office said both were released Saturday as the investigation continues.

In another incident in Saint-Ouen, simply outside Paris, law enforcement fined 62 people at lunchtime on Friday, news channel BFMTV reported.

Police tweeted that that they had arrested the supervisor of this restaurant as well.

Underground restaurants giving wealthy persons a pre-coronavirus eating experience have made headlines on France throughout this week.

The M6 private television channel last week broadcast a story predicated on footage recorded with a concealed camera purportedly from a clandestine restaurant in a high-end area of Paris where neither the workers nor the diners were wearing masks.

Participants were demonstrated enjoying caviar and champagne in the function costing €220 (US$260 dollars) per person.

All restaurants and cafes have been closed in France for eating set for the last five months. The united states this week started out a new limited nationwide lockdown to deal with surging COVID-19 infections.

Among the organisers of the evening meal proven by M6, businessman and collector Pierre-Jean Chalencon, was first briefly detained for questioning by law enforcement Friday alongside chef Christophe Leroy.

Chalencon had claimed to have held several dinners at his high class Palais Vivienne venue found in central Paris attended by ministers.

"At this time of the investigation, there is absolutely no data that indicates any participants of the federal government took part found in the dinners appearing investigated," prosecutors said after interviewing him.

The former interior minister Brice Hortefeux told AFP he did attend a "professional lunch" with a journalist late last month that was organised by Leroy.

But he said he was informed it had been completely legal because it was in an exclusive and isolated apartment instead of in a restaurant.

"We were significantly less than six, no rule was broken," Hortefeux said, adding "it had been incredibly disturbing" to be associated with the illegal dinners that Leroy is normally facing legal questions.
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