Former French PM Fillon jail sentence over fake job

Elias Hubbard
June 29, 2020

Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope will appeal a French court decision finding them guilty of embezzlement of public funds, their lawyer Antonin Levy said on Monday shortly after the sentence was pronounced.

The scandal broke in the French media just three months before the country's 2017 presidential election, as Fillon was the front-runner in the race.

He is also banned from seeking an elected office for 10 years.

Fillon had been a clear favourite as the governing Socialists' candidate and a relatively novice Emmanuel Macron lagged behind, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen had a very slim chance of winning the runoff.

"The payment was disproportionate to the work done", the chief judge said, reading the court's ruling. If accepted, a verdict may be delayed by months, but if the request is rejected it should come during the day.

The revelations dealt a body blow to Fillon's carefully honed image as a stern budgetary steward, despite his insistence that his wife had earned the 1.05 million euros ($1.2 million) she was paid from 1998 to 2013.

Last but not least, he was accused of getting the millionaire owner of a literary magazine to pay his wife 135,000 euros for "consulting work" that was largely fake. His wife got a three-year suspended prison sentence. "Mrs Fillon was hired for a position that was without use", it said.

The court also convicted a third co-defendant, Marc Joulaud, to a suspended three-year sentence for continuing to channel money to Penelope Fillon after he took the conservative politician's parliamentary seat while her husband was in government.

The French court also convicted Fillon's wife, Penelope, of complicity to embezzle and hide of public money.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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