Celebrity chef who opened vegan restaurant with Pamela Anderson faces jail for French Covid scandal when ministers ‘ate caviar and champagne dinners despite lockdown rules’
- Celebrity chef Christopher Leroy, 57, faces prison in France amid ‘secret meals’
- The Paris house was raided by police who suspect they have ignored the Covid-19 lockdown
- Leroy reportedly prepared meals for VIPs but denies any wrongdoing
- He previously opened a restaurant in the south of France with Pamela Anderson
A celebrity chef who opened a vegan restaurant with Pamela Anderson before he collapsed in debt faced prison in France last night over a ‘secret meals’ scandal.
The Paris home of Christopher Leroy, 57, was raided by officers who suspected he was cooking dinners over £ 400 for some prominent figures, including high profile politicians, during the strict coronavirus lockdown in the capital .
This was part of a criminal investigation opened by city prosecutors for ‘endangering the life of others – a charge which can carry a year in prison and a fine equivalent to around £ 12,500 .
Leroy, who denies any wrongdoing, was involved in a disastrous business venture with Canadian-American actress and model Ms Anderson four years ago.
The 53-year-old opened a vegan restaurant in the south of France with help from Leroy, but it closed within weeks with massive debt.
Former Baywatch beauty Ms Anderson said at the time: ‘I cannot tolerate the mistreatment of staff – or the complete disrespect.
She did not give details, but was reportedly angry with Leroy’s behavior, especially since he was involved in other legal issues.
Christopher Leroy, who denies any wrongdoing, was involved in a disastrous business venture with Canadian-American actress and model Pamela Anderson four years ago.
Leroy’s Paris home was raided by officers who suspected he was cooking dinners over £ 400 for VIPs, including high profile politicians during the strict coronavirus lockdown in the capital
The same year, Leroy was successfully prosecuted in Morocco for “complicity in breach of trust” and financial irregularities in a restaurant he ran in this North African country.
Now Leroy is accused of being the chef of numerous champagne and caviar dinners that have violated French Covid-19 regulations.
The astonishing assertion was made in a film shot in Paris by undercover investigators from the M6 news channel.
“Once you walk through the door, the Covid is gone,” a waiter told them as they entered a room in the center of the French capital.
“We want people to feel comfortable. It’s a private club, we want people to feel at home, ”he added.
Leroy cooked in the Vivienne Palace run by Pierre-Jean Chalençon, a flamboyant 51-year-old businessman famous for having collected the relics of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The 53-year-old opened a vegan restaurant in the south of France with help from Leroy, but it closed within weeks with massive debt. Former Baywatch beauty Ms Anderson said at the time: ‘I cannot tolerate the mistreatment of staff – or the complete disrespect’
Chalençon is also the subject of a criminal investigation but also denies any criminality, saying that what was filmed by M6 was only an “ April Fool’s joke ”.
The menu for an evening meal started at £ 136 (€ 160) per dinner and then rose to £ 416 (€ 490) for a feast that included champagne and caviar – despite restaurants, cafes and bars closed in Paris since last year.
It comes as the French government is dealing with a third wave of Covid-19 cases, with intensive care units currently overwhelmed.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex told MPs last Thursday that anyone who was ‘likely to endanger the lives of others’ by hosting illegal parties faces a year in prison and a fine of up to £ 12,750 (€ 15,000).
“Prosecutors will be asked to systematically prosecute perpetrators who organize secret events that could endanger the lives of others,” he added.
According to figures from the French Ministry of the Interior, the police have prevented 326 illegal events from taking place since January 1.
Mr. Castex also “asked the Minister of the Interior to increase the number of police and gendarmes assigned to this task”.