Crime & Justice

Ex-French PM Fillon jailed for fake jobs scandal

Paris, Jun 29 (efe-epa).- Former French prime minister François Fillon was on Monday sentenced to five years in jail — three suspended — in relation to the fake jobs scandal in which he was found guilty of employing and paying family members, including his wife.

Penelope Fillon was handed a three year suspended sentence for her role in the affair, which was revealed just as the center-right politician launched his presidential bid in early 2017.

Marc Joulaud, the MP who took over Fillon’s former constituency when the latter became a government minister in Jacques Chirac’s government, was also fined for putting Penelope Fillon on the public payroll for a job she never actually held.

The scandal first emerged following a scoop from the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchainé, which claimed Penelope Fillon and the couple’s two sons — who did not face trial — had been listed and paid for their roles as parliamentary assistants despite never doing the work.

Fillon, who served as the head of government under president Nicolas Sarkozy between 2007 and 2012, was the center-right favorite to run in the 2017 presidential election until the scandal was revealed.

According to Le Canard Enchainé, Fillon put his wife on the public payroll between 1998-2002 and 2012-13 and his sons between 2005-07.

The trial, which became known as Penelopegate, opened in February.

Throughout the court proceedings, Penelope Fillon was unable to provide evidence of having worked for her husband, although she claimed she had carried out diverse tasks, such as sorting mail or organizing his schedule.

Fillon, 66, and his wife, 64, were charged with embezzling public funds and misappropriation of social assets. The pair diverted more than 1.5 million euros of public money, directly or indirectly, into their own coffers.

Joulaud was charged with misuse of public funds.

Fillon and his wife have both appealed the ruling, putting his detention and likely imprisonment on hold. EFE-EPA


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