France's justice minister wants to know why someone sent her a severed finger in the mail, a ministry spokesman said Monday.

A package, containing the finger and a letter addressed to Justice Minister Rachida Dati, was opened by the ministry's mail service after it was received Friday, spokesman Guillaume Didier said. He gave no information about what the letter said.

"The minister asked her services to look into this person's situation, to see what could have driven him or her to carry out this act," he said.

Didier said he could not confirm a report in regional daily Ouest France, which said the sender was a 57-year-old man and former hair-salon owner in western France with business and legal problems, who had cut off part of his own finger and sent it to Dati. Ouest France did not give a source for the information.