The photographer whose pictures exposed the affair between the French president and actress Julie Gayet faces criminal charges over possible invasion of privacy after she lodged a complaint, according to press reports.

Police have questioned Sébastien Valiela who took photos of President Francois Hollande’s mistress at the wheel of her car, sources have told the French media.

Under France’s strict privacy laws, the inside of a car is deemed to be a private space.

The legal move is separate to an earlier civil lawsuit where Gayet is seeking €50,000 (£41,000) in damages and interest from France-based Closer magazine, after it published images of Hollande visiting her apartment on the back of a moped. A civil trial is set to take place on 6 March.