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French minister resigns following reports of his lavish lifestyle at public's expense

THE former second-highest ranking official in the French government resigned yesterday following media reports that he has been living a lavish lifestyle at the expense of France’s taxpayers.

Ecology Minister Francois de Rugy said on his verified Facebook page that he submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe “to defend myself” and to protect his family from “media attacks.”

It was not immediately clear who would replace him.

He said he filed a defamation lawsuit yesterday morning over the “media attacks” that forced him to step down.

Mr Rugy has been the target of criticism in the weeks since investigative news site Mediapart reported that he and his wife hosted lavish dinners for friends while he served as president of the lower house of parliament.

After his appointment last September as ecology minister, Mr Rugy reportedly spent some €60,000 (£54,224) to refurbish his government apartment.

Mediapart has also published photos of Mr Rugy’s lavish dinners featuring giant lobsters.

The paper said wines served at the soirees were among the best in the cellars of the National Assembly, known for its collection. 

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