France 2 hosts were overpaid

PARIS — Confirming previous reports, France’s national audit office revealed Thursday that French public television channel France 2 overpaid six of its star hosts and their production companies during 1994 and 1995.

In a report on the public station’s finances, the agency said contracts with the hosts’ production companies, totaling 1.5 billion francs ($254.1 million), “without doubt contributed to enriching the companies concerned,” but their benefit for the channel was unproven.

The contracts came under fire last year for their juicy payments to television hosts and led to the resignation of Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, then chairman of France Television, France 2’s parent.

Elkabbach said in a separate statement issued Thursday that the report did not bring his personal integrity or the honesty of his management into question.

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