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Former French PM François Fillon to face trial over 'fake jobs' scandal

Eric Feferberg, AFP | French presidential candidate François Fillon (C), flanked by his wife Penelope (L), before a campaign speech in Paris on April 9, 2017.

Former French Prime Minister François Fillon, whose 2017 bid for France’s presidency was torpedoed by a fake job scandal involving his wife, will face trial over the allegations, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.

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Investigating judges have recommended a trial for the 65-year-old conservative and his British wife Penelope on charges of misusing public money, conspiracy and failing to fully disclose their financial situation to a French watchdog.

As the 2017 candidate for the centre-right Les Républicains party, Fillon was widely viewed as being on course to win the presidency before the revelations were published by the investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné in January 2017, shattering his credibility.

Over several articles, the newspaper said it had seen payslips for Welsh-born Penelope showing she had been paid €680,000 as a parliamentary assistant to Fillon between 1986 and 2013, but had done little or no work at the national assembly.

Fillon also paid two of the couple’s children for work as lawyers when he was a senator between 2005 and 2007.

He finished third in the first round of voting in April 2017 with 20.01 percent of ballots cast, behind centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Under France’s legal system, Fillon can appeal the decision to put him on trial.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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