PARIS — French police questioned a former minister and celebrity chef Joel Robuchon on Wednesday over alleged embezzlement at a luxury hotel chain, a day after grilling ex-prime minister Dominique de Villepin.
Police in Paris questioned former education minister Xavier Darcos as a witness, a source close to the enquiry said, adding that police had also quizzed Robuchon, whose global empire of restaurants has earned him a total of 28 Michelin stars.
The source did not say what connection the two men might have to the inquiry into the Relais & Chateaux hotel chain, whose former chairman, Regis Bulot, is a friend of Villepin.
Bulot, 64, was taken into custody last November on charges of organised fraud and money laundering. He is suspected of embezzling 1.6 million euros ($2 million) between 2002 and 2008. He was released in June.
Villepin, 58, in 2011 allegedly made a phone call -- bugged by police -- on behalf of Bulot in which he bragged about putting pressure on the new management of Relais & Chateaux not to co-operate with a police probe.
Villepin, who served as prime minister under president Jacques Chirac from May 2005 till May 2007, holidayed with his wife at a Relais & Chateaux resort on the French Caribbean island of Martinique in 2005.
Villepin, a suave diplomat best remembered for leading the charge against the Iraq war at the United Nations in 2003, has denied any knowledge of an embezzlement scheme.
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