French ex-PM Fillon guilty in ‘fake jobs’ scandal

French ex-PM Fillon guilty in ‘fake jobs’ scandal

Fillon and wife in court, 29 Jun 20

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The couple wore anti-virus masks in court on Monday

French ex-Prime Minister François Fillon and his Welsh wife have received jail sentences in a “fake jobs” case.

The conservative politician was found guilty of paying Penelope Fillon €831,400 (£760,000) for work she never did when employed as his assistant.

He was sentenced to five years in prison, three of them suspended. She was given a three-year suspended term.

The scandal ruined his presidential bid in 2017. Both have appealed, blocking Mr Fillon’s immediate detention.

He is the most senior French political figure to receive a custodial sentence since the start of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

Delivering the verdict in a Paris courthouse on Monday, the chief judge said: “The payment was disproportionate to the work done. Mrs Fillon was hired for a position that was without use.”

Ms Fillon was found guilty of complicity to embezzle and conceal public funds.

Coronavirus masks obscured the couple’s expressions as the verdicts were read out.

Who is François Fillon?

He has been in politics for decades. After serving as an MP, senator, and in a number of ministerial roles, he became France’s prime minister between 2007 and 2012 under then-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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