Celebrity chef who opened vegan restaurant with Pamela Anderson faces jail over French covid scandal when ministers ‘ate caviar and champagne dinners despite lockdown rules’
- Celebrity chef Christopher Leroy, 57, faces jail in France amid ‘secret meals’
- Paris home was raided by police who suspect he flouted Covid-19 lockdown
- Leroy allegedly cooked meals for VIPs but denies any wrongdoing
- He previously opened a restaurant in south of France with Pamela Anderson
A celebrity chef who opened a vegan restaurant with Pamela Anderson before it collapsed into debt was facing jail in France last night over a ‘secret meals’ scandal.
The Paris home of Christopher Leroy, 57, was raided by officers who suspect he was cooking £400-plus dinners for selected VIPs including senior politicians during the capital city’s strict coronavirus lockdown.
It was part of a criminal investigation opened by prosecutors in the city for ‘endangering the lives of others – a charge which can be punishable by up to 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 Leroy’s help, but it closed within weeks with huge debts.
Former Baywatch beauty Ms Anderson said at the time: ‘I cannot tolerate the mistreatment of staff – or the total disrespect’.
She did not elaborate, but was said to be angry at Leroy’s behaviour, particularly as he was involved in other legal problems.
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 suspect he was cooking £400-plus dinners for VIPs including senior politicians during the capital city’s strict coronavirus lockdown
In the same year, Leroy was successfully prosecuted in Morocco for ‘complicity in breach of trust’ and financial irregularities in a restaurant he was running in the North African country.
Now Leroy is accused of being the chef at numerous champagne-and-caviar dinners that breached France’s Covid-19 regulations.
The astonishing claim was made in a film shot in Paris by undercover investigators from the M6 news channel.
‘Once you pass through the door there’s no more Covid,’ a waiter told them as they entered a venue in the centre of the French capital.
‘We want people to feel at ease. It’s a private club, we want people to feel like they’re at home,’ he added.
Leroy was said to be cooking in the Palais Vivienne venue run by Pierre-Jean Chalençon, a flamboyant 51-year-old businessman famous for collecting Napoleon Bonaparte relics.
The 53-year-old opened a vegan restaurant in the South of France with Leroy’s help, but it closed within weeks with huge debts. Former Baywatch beauty Ms Anderson said at the time: ‘I cannot tolerate the mistreatment of staff – or the total disrespect’
Chalençon is also under criminal investigation but also denies any criminality, saying that what was filmed by M6 was just ‘an April Fool’s joke’.
The menu for an evening meal started at £136 (€160) per diner and then rose to £416 (€490) for a feast that included Champagne and caviar – despite restaurants, cafes and bars all being shut in Paris since last year.
It comes as the French government deals with a third wave of Covid-19 cases, with intensive care units currently overwhelmed.
Last Thursday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex told MPs that that anyone who was ‘likely to endanger the life of others’ by hosting illegal parties faced a year in prison, and a fine of up to £12,750 (€15,000).
‘Prosecutors will be asked to systematically prosecute perpetrators who organise secret events likely to endanger the lives of others,’ he added.
According to figures from the French Interior Ministry, police have prevented 326 illegal events from being held since January 1.
Mr Castex also ‘asked the Minister of the Interior to increase the number of police and gendarmes assigned to this task.’