PARIS: French President Francois Hollande's security was not compromised by his trysts with actress Julie Gayet, Interior Minister Manuel Valls insisted Sunday.
"I am perfectly clear about that, the president is protected at all times, both in his public movements" and in the private sphere, by a team of around 60 "highly competent" police officers, Valls said on French radio.
The glossy magazine Closer revealed on January 10 that Hollande regularly visited Gayet at a borrowed apartment, taken there aboard a chauffeur-driven scooter with his face concealed by a motorcycle helmet.
"The president's security was never in danger," he said, adding that he was unaware of the affair and arguing that if the interior minister was informed of all the private engagements of the president and others with security details "we would not be a democracy."
He said private life should be accorded "sacred respect".