Francois Fillon’s Wife Faces Probe for Fake Job Earning Nearly Half Million Euros
Francois Fillon enjoys support of many French voters but he faces a tough challenge after reports emerged about his wife Penelope Fillon receiving money for jobs she probably never offered. Former Prime Minister Fillon said that he was outraged by the report published by satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine. However, Fillon could face trouble as French prosecutors have informed that a formal probe will be opened to check the facts relating to the payments made to Penelope Fillon.
The report claimed that nearly half million euros in payments from the public funds were offered to Penelope Fillon. The report added that there wasn’t any proof that Mrs. Fillon offered the services for which she received payment. The probe into misuse of public funds could cause troubles for campaign of Presidential election frontrunner. Mr. Fillon has based his campaign on transparency and honesty and this issue would surely give a chance to his opponents to dent his voter base.
While it is not illegal to employee relatives for jobs in France and many French parliamentarians have done it in the past, it could be trouble for Fillons if they can’t prove that Mrs. Fillon actually offered any services.
The statement issued by French prosecutors said, "Following the publication on 25 January 2017 in the Canard Enchaine of a story calling Mrs Penelope Fillon into question, the financial prosecutor’s office today opened a preliminary investigation into misappropriation of public funds, misuse of company assets and concealment of these offences."
Fillon’s wife Penelope is from Wales and the couple have five children. In her last interview in October 2016, Mrs. Fillon said, "Up to now, I have never been involved in the political life of my husband."
Mr Fillon's staff have previously said that his wife worked for him in a common and legal arrangement used by many MPs. The issue could start a debate on misuse of public funds by political elite and offering freebies to relatives.
Mr. Fillon faces tough challenge from Marine Le Pen. Many French are concerned about refugee crisis in France and Europe. As the current government has failed to deal with issues relating to refugee crisis and the rise in crime incidents in big cities across France, far-right parties are gathering support.
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