July 16 (UPI) -- French Environment Minister Francois de Rugy resigned Tuesday after facing criticism for hosting luxurious dinners that appeared to have little to do with his former role as president of the National Assembly.
De Rugy, who over the weekend said he had no intention of leaving his post, blamed a "media lynching" for his departure.
"The attacks and media lynching have driven me today to take the necessary step, which everyone will understand," he wrote in a Facebook post announcing his resignation. "The effort required to defend my name means that I am not able to serenely and efficiently carry out my mission. I presented my resignation to the prime minister this morning."
An investigative report by news website Mediapart found that de Rugy hosted a dozen lavish dinners from 2017-18, serving lobster, bottles of wine that cost $560 and champagne. The guests were mostly friends of de Rugy and his wife, Severine Servat-de Rugy.
De Rugy denied the allegations, citing a shellfish allergy and a dislike for champagne. He said receptions were part of his on-the-job requirements.
He also was accused of renting a subsidized apartment though he made too much money to be eligible for the discount. Mediapart said he also used his salary to pay for political party fees, a violation.