The Parisian authorities have ended a gathering of more than 110 diners in an underground restaurant in defiance of restrictions linked to the coronavirus, authorities announced on Saturday.
The incident came as investigators were investigating underground dinners amid rumors that French ministers were also among the guests.
French police said on Twitter they were responding to “a restaurant noise complaint” on Friday evening.
“Guests have been fined for failing to comply with applicable sanitary measures,” police said, adding that they arrested the event organizer and the restaurant manager.
In recent weeks, local media have reported several underground restaurants welcoming wealthy people for a pre-pandemic dining experience as France battles an increase in coronavirus infections.
Entry code required for lunch in Saint-Ouen
In another incident, police fined 62 other people € 135 each ($ 160) for a lunch meeting in Saint-Ouen, just outside Paris, BFMTV reported.
Police said they also arrested the manager of this restaurant.
Businessmen and lawyers were among dozens who entered the underground restaurant through an entrance to a code-protected residence, according to BFMTV.
Police had been investigating this restaurant for three weeks, BFMTV reported.
No “proof” of ministers attending parties
The M6 television channel had broadcast footage showing a party at an upscale venue with participants breaking social distancing rules or wearing masks.
Prosecutors said they aimed to identify organizers and attendees and determine whether the party actually took place during the lockdown.
Pierre-Jean Chalençon, French businessman, collector and connoisseur of the Napoleonic era, was implicated in the M6 report and briefly arrested.
Chalencon claimed that his luxurious room at the Palais Vivienne in central Paris hosted several dinners which some ministers attended. His lawyers later told AFP news agency that he was “joking.”
“At this stage of the investigation, there is no evidence indicating that members of the government participated in the dinners under investigation,” said the prosecutors quoted by AFP.
fb / dj (AFP, EFE, Reuters, dpa)