French culture minister in new scandal after 'boy sex' row | world | Hindustan Times
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French culture minister in new scandal after 'boy sex' row

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand was in the spotlight on Saturday for standing as character reference for two rapists after a row over his admission of paying "boys" for sex.

world Updated: Oct 10, 2009 22:49 IST

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand was in the spotlight on Saturday for standing as character reference for two rapists after a row over his admission of paying "boys" for sex.

Mitterrand, an urbane television personality and a nephew of former Socialist president Francois Mitterrand adopted a pugnacious tone and threatened legal action over what he said was a "new orchestrated campaign of insensitive calumny."

The minister "will launch legal action against those who are complicit in the latest ignominy he has suffered," a statement read out at a news conference in the southwestern town of Bordeaux quoted Mitterrand as saying.

The latest scandal emerged just after Mitterrand managed to retain his job following a fresh furore over his 2005 autobiographical novel La Mauvaise Vie (The Bad Life) in which the hero describes paying Asian boys for sex.

Mitterrand had angrily denied having ever engaged in paedophile acts or condoning sex tourism.

"I absolutely condemn sexual tourism (and) I condemn paedophilia in which I have never in any way participated, and all the people who accuse me of that type of thing should be ashamed," the 62 year old told TF1 television.

The latest controversy emerged after a French newspaper said Mitterrand had testified to the "good character" of two youths in the French overseas territory of La Reunion charged with the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl.