Penelope Fillon (Image source: Wikipedia)
Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has appeared in court over his role in a “fake jobs” scandal.
The politician is accused of paying his Welsh wife Penelope Fillon hundreds of thousands of euros for a job she allegedly never worked when she was hired as his assistant.
Both appeared on February 24, but did not make a statement. They deny the allegations.
Although the trial was due to begin on February 24, the court adjourned it until February 26, as lawyers are currently on strike in France.
The scandal – called PenelopeGate – began in 2017, when Francois Fillon seemed to be the favorite to win the presidency.
His ratings plummeted after the allegations. In the end, centrist Emmanuel Macron won the election against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Francois Fillon could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The trial is due to continue until March 11.
Francois Fillon under official investigation in France
The former prime minister has been in politics for decades. After serving as a legislator and in a number of ministerial roles, he became Prime Minister of France between 2007 and 2012 under former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Before the 2017 presidential election, Francois Fillon won the presidential election of the center-right Republican Party and in January 2017 was a clear favorite in the polls.
However, Fillon’s offer for the best position fell apart later that month.
The chained duck, a satirical magazine, claims that Penelope Fillon – officially hired as her husband’s parliamentary assistant for about six years in the 1990s and 2000s – never actually did her job. Moreover, 831,400 euros ($ 900,000) were paid for her role.
Francois Fillon denied the allegations. He said his opponents were trying to sabotage his campaign through his wife and promised to continue the election.
As the scandal escalated, the former prime minister apologized “abundantly” for hiring family members, saying that although legal, the practice had caused “mistrust”.
However, the ratings of his polls fell sharply. He finished third in the first round of voting, missing the run-off in the second round.
The chained duck published numerous charges against Francois Fillon and his family.
According to the publication, Penelope Fillon made 100,000 euros, writing only a handful of articles for a literary publication. The review of both worlds. The magazine is owned by billionaire, friend of the family, Marc Ladritt de Lachariere.
From 2002 to 2007, Penelope Fillon worked for her husband’s successor as lacmaker Marc Jullot. He is also under formal investigation.
During a short stay working for her husband between 2012 and 2013, Penelope Fillon claimed she had no work email or parliamentary pass.
Two of Philo’s children are also involved in the scandal.
Marie and Charles Fillon were paid for legal work by their father’s office – still The chained duck reported that neither was a qualified lawyer at the time.