French Restaurateur asserts ‘innocence’ | Sunday Observer

French Restaurateur asserts ‘innocence’

17 February, 2019

A French restaurateur who had over Rs 2 million worth of foreign alcoholic beverages at his residence when it was raided earlier this month, has insisted that he was innocent of wrongdoing.

“The only thing that I did not know was that you cannot keep more than 7.5 liters of alcohol in your house,” Jean-Charles Toussaint, the owner of Café Francais told the Sunday Observer in an interview this week.

Jean-Charles Toussaint’s residence was raided by the Colombo City Excise (CCE) officials last Wednesday (6) when they received a tip-off regarding the alcohol storage. Responding to a report in the Sunday Observer last week, Toussaint said his deportation, referred to in the article was due to a problem he had with a person “with a lot of power,” because his restaurant was doing well. “They are jealous,” he claimed.

Toussaint claims that the Excise raid was not connected to the restaurant he runs at Park Street.

On February 9, Toussaint posted a statement on Facebook acknowledging the search by the CCE, and claiming that he had pleaded guilty and his bottles were confiscated. However, Officer in Charge of the CCE Office Chanaka Nanayakkara said Toussaint was yet to plead guilty in any court of law. Following the raid the alcohol was impounded, and the next hearing of the case was fixed to February 28 by the Maligakanda Magistrates. Excise inspectors and other law enforcement officers are continuing their investigations to determine the source of the impounded liquor and discern whether other criminal offenses had been committed under the Excise Ordinance, Immigrants and Emigrants Act or other criminal laws.