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François de Rugy, French Environment Minister, announces charges



  French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Francois de Rugy at the National Assembly in Paris, France, September 2018

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Reuters

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François de Rugy denies any wrongdoing

France's Environment Minister François de Rugy announced his resignation after being accused of extravagant expenses, including for private dinners, hampering his work as a minister.

An investigative website said he spent large sums on tax dollars for gala dinners and renovating his home as parliamentary president.

He denies any wrongdoing.

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"The attacks and the lynching of the media against my family force me to take the necessary step back … I presented the Prime Minister my resignation Minister this morning," said de Rugy.

On the Mediapart website, he was accused of having invited friends to luxurious lobster and vintage wine dinners while he was parliamentary speaker and spent public money on renovating his government-provided dwelling.

Mr de Rugy admits to organizing the meals, as this is normal for the speaker of the National Assembly, but has pointed out that he does not like lobster.

"I do not like it, I do not eat it, I have an intolerance to shellfish," he told BFMTV earlier. "I do not like oysters … I hate caviar and champagne gives me a headache."

The allegations came in connection with the "yellow West" protests about inequality and allegations against French President Emmanuel Macron that he was a "president of the rich" because of his pro-business policies.

Mr. de Rugy said he had filed a legal complaint against the Mediapart website for defamation and accused her of "damaging, smearing and destroying". "

President Macron said the resignation of the minister was a "personal choice that he respected so that [Mr de Rugy] could defend himself completely and freely."

Mr. de Rugy's predecessor, Nicolas Hulot, television presenter and environmental activist, resigned last year, saying he and Mr. Macron Government did not sufficiently support his plans.


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