Francois Fillon Could Withdraw from Presidential Elections If Prosecutors Bring Charges: Report
Former Prime Minister and leading presidential candidate Francois Fillon has said that he will withdraw from presidential elections if financial prosecutors hand over preliminary charges to him over reports of him paying his wife from public funds, a report by BBC informed. While speaking on TF1, Fillon said that he hasn’t done anything wrong by employing his wife. He added that her work was real as she was employed as presidential aide for years.
Satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine had reported earlier this week that Fillon’s wife Penelope Fillon was paid nearly half a million euros over last ten years for work she never did. It is not uncommon for French parliamentarians to employ their relatives but using public funds for ‘no work done’ could land Fillon in trouble. Financial prosecutors had earlier said that they will open an investigation on the issue.
Presidential candidate Fillon has rejected the charges and said that there was no misuse of public funds. Fillon’s presidential campaign has received high support in France and he has always talked about transparency in government. He has talked about reducing government spending on officials. Talking about the current issue, Fillon said, “Only one thing would prevent me from being a candidate: it's if my honor was harmed, if I were given preliminary charges.”
As per investigative website Mediapart report in 2014, nearly 20 percent of French Parliamentarians had employed an immediate family member to their staff. Members of the National Assembly can hire five people to their staff and the monthly spending can go up to Euro 9,561.
The couple has five children. Penelope Fillon is from Welsh and in an interview the Sunday Telegraph, she said, "I'm just a country peasant, this is not my natural habitat."
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."
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