Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has been questioned by police investigating a suspected financial scam involving a network of luxury hotels.

BFM-TV said Villepin was questioned for seven hours Tuesday about the affair, which centers on a suspected embezzlement scheme by Regis Bulot — the former head of the Relais & Chateaux chain and a friend of the politician.

Villepin said in a statement that he is "in no way implicated ... in this sad affair."

Bulot, who ran the chain until Dec. 2005, has been charged with fraud for allegedly embezzling some €1.5 million ($1.92 million).

French daily Le Monde has reported that police suspect Villepin tried to influence judicial inquiries into Bulot.