Magistrates to probe France’s Fillon over ‘fake jobs’

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PARIS: Francois Fillon, the conservative candidate in France’s presidential election, will face a probe by investigating magistrates into claims he gave members of his family fake jobs, prosecutors said on Friday (Saturday in Manila). Fillon, one of the frontrunners in the presidential race, will be investigated for alleged embezzlement of public funds and misappropriation of corporate assets, prosecutors said in a statement. The 62-year-old former prime minister has not been charged at this point, but under French law investigating magistrates can decide to bring charges. With the first round of the election just two months away, on April 23, the timing of the decision could have a crucial bearing on the race. Fillon has been fighting claims first made a month ago by Le Canard Enchaine newspaper that he used allowances to pay his British-born wife Penelope at least 680,000 euros ($720,000) over some 15 years as a parliamentary aide. She is accused of having barely worked for the salary. Two of Fillon’s children were also put on the parliamentary payroll for brief periods.

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AFP

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