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Fillon payment inquiry: What you need to know

Fillon

MAR 20, (DNA) – He was once the favourite to win the French presidency, but centre-right candidate Francois Fillon’s fortunes have been dramatically dented by a “fake jobs” row.

His Welsh-born wife, Penelope, has become caught up in a controversy surrounding her work as a parliamentary assistant.

As the presidential race hots up, Mr Fillon, a one-time prime minister, is under judicial investigation and has spoken of a “political assassination”.

What have the Fillons done wrong?

Nothing, say Francois Fillon and his wife, who insist everything was above board. But prosecutors have decided there is sufficient evidence to open a full judicial inquiry into abuse of public funds and the examining magistrate has placed him under formal investigation.

The question is: did Penelope Fillon do the work she was paid for? Satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine alleged in late January that she did not – and got €831,400 (£710,000; $900,000) for her trouble.

She was employed as her husband’s parliamentary assistant from 1988-90 and again in 1998-2002 and then by his successor as an MP, Marc Jouland, from 2002-2007.

She worked again for Mr Fillon from 2012-13. That is all very well if she actually did the work, but one report suggests she did not have a parliamentary pass or a work email.

Composite images of two Canard Enchaine front pages

For the past two weeks, Le Canard Enchaine has carried revelations about the Fillon family’s earnings

According to Le Canard, she also pocketed €100,000 for writing just a handful of articles for a literary review La Revue des Deux Mondes, owned by a billionaire friend of the family, Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere.

Mr Fillon is also being investigated for allegedly failing to declare a tax-free €50,000 loan from the billionaire which he has since repaid. And the inquiry widened in March to include two luxury suits worth some €13,000 that were bought for him by a friend.

And then there are the children. Mr Fillon will have to explain why Marie and Charles Fillon were paid by their father’s office for legal work. Le Canard alleges they were not yet qualified lawyers.=DNA

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