Francois Fillon and his wife, Penelope
25 February 2020
Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife were ordered by Investigating judges to stand trial on corruption charges. Fillon served as prime minister under President Nicolas Sarkozy from 2007 to 2012. Fillon had served five times as a government official under two previous presidents, Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac.
At one point he was the front-runner in France’s 2017 presidential race. His ambition came to an end when in 2017 when satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné alleged that Penelope Fillon, wife of Fillon, received €500,000 as a parliamentary assistant to her husband and his substitute Marc Joulaud between 1998 and 2007 and in 2012. She did not do any work to earn this income. It also claimed that she was paid €100,000 as a literary adviser to the Revue des deux Mondes. The absence of evidence of work by Penelope Fillon and her distance from political life led the newspaper to suspect that these jobs were fictitious.  According to Le Monde, Marc Joulaud, who replaced Fillon as a lawmaker in the National Assembly while Fillon served as prime minister, will also stand trial for misuse of public funds.
Later in another article Le Canard enchaîné claimed that, including the years 1988 to 1990 and 2013, Penelope Fillon collected €813,440 as a parliamentary assistant. In addition, the weekly revealed that two of the couple’s children, Charles and Marie Fillon, received €84,000 while employed from 2005 to 2007 as assistants to their father, then a Senator.
After the initial publication of the article financial prosecutors at the Parquet National Financier opened a probe and framed charges of aggravated fraud, forgery, falsification of records and influence-peddling.
The National Assembly is also planning to seek about €1 million in damages – the amount that may have been paid out to Penelope Fillon, said Mr Yves Claisse, a lawyer for the French Parliament. reported.