France’s Environment Minister Francois de Rugy, resigned on Tuesday, days after being accused of extravagant spending, including luxury dinners while he was speaker of parliament.
The French minister had in the last few days been enmeshed in luxury dinners scandal, which local media said had little connection to his function and were essentially social gatherings hosted by his wife, a journalist with the People magazine Gala, and funded by the taxpayer. He allegedly hosted friends to opulent meals, complete with lobster and vintage wines.
However decrying the “media lynching” while announcing his resignation, Rugy lashed out at Mediapart, which has repeatedly published stories that have rattled the French elite since it was established in 2008. He said he had filed a legal complaint against the left-wing publication for “defamation”, accusing it of a desire “to harm, smear and destroy.”
“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 the number two in government after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
“The effort required to defend my name means that I am not able to serenely and efficiently carry out my mission. I presented my resignation to the prime minister this morning,” he added.