France: Presidential candidate fights back a corruption scandal
8 February 2017
French presidential candidate Francois Fillon, fights back a report in Le Canard enchaine which said that his wife had been paid hundreds of thousands of euros in state money for work she may never have done. He admitted that he employed his wife and their two children as assistants during his many years as a member of the National Assembly and Senate. He said that the practice was legal but admitted that the practice was no longer seen as acceptable, and he apologised to voters. Details of payments made to his wife would be published online, he added.
Le Monde newspaper said prosecutors were investigating whether there was a link between a Legion of Honour medal awarded to a wealthy businessman friend of Mr Fillon and a sum of money that businessman paid to Penelope. He and his wife have been interviewed by the fraud police. The enquiry has been extended to include his 3 adult children.
Monday’s Le Monde report said Fillon told investigators that his daughter had helped him research a book he wrote and that his son had been paid while helping with the 2007 campaign of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
He was prime minister from 2007 to 2012 and won the Republican Party nomination in November, beating veterans Alain Juppé, also a former prime minister, and former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Stakes are high for Republican Party which is battling to return to power after five years of Socialist rule under President Francois Hollande. Fillon championes free-market policies to reinvigorate France’s heavily regulated economy.