France’s Environment Minister Francois de Rugy said Friday July 12th that he has "absolutely no reason to quit," despite new allegations that he used public funds for a lavish lifestyle, AFP reported.
The Mediapart investigative website said that Rugy had hosted expensive dinners, allegedly for friends, while serving as parliament speaker from June 2017 to October 2018.
The website investigation revealed that Rugy had rented a council flat with subsidised rent in western France, even though his salary was "far higher" than the maximum allowed for such aid.
Rugy did not deny renting the apartment, but insisted his landlord and letting agency never told him it was social housing, he said in an interview on French TV channel BFM.
Mediapart said that the dinners hosted by Rugy included expensive luxuries like lobster, champagne and vintage wines from parliament's cellar.
Rugy has not denied the existence of the dinners but said they were linked to his work, defending the gatherings as "informal working dinners."
In a Facebook post he said that he assumed full responsibility for the fact that a parliament speaker or a minister should be able to hold informal meetings over dinner with business leaders, cultural figureheads and university deans.
France’s prime minister Edouard Philippe has ordered an investigation into misuse of public funds.