Former French Prime Minister and one time leading presidential candidate François Fillon has officially been charged with corruption and bribery together with his spouse.
The Fillon affair (also known as the ‘Penelope Fillon’ affair or ‘Penelopegate’) erupted in 2017 during the presidential campaign, which current President Emmanuel Macron eventually won.
As a certain point, former Prime Minister François Fillon, a candidate for the conservative ‘Republican party’ of former President Sarkozy, was the leading contender, well ahead of ‘En Marche’ candidate Mr Emmanuel Macron and even FN chairwoman Ms Marine Le Pen.
However, the French press discovered that he had ‘created’ jobs for both his children and wife, who had been paid for years to ‘work’ in the office of Mr Fillon during his time in the senate.
The affair began when the satirical magazine Le Canard enchaîné alleged in its edition of 25 January 2017 that Penelope Fillon, wife of François Fillon, received about $600k as a parliamentary assistant to her husband. Furthermore, she was also paid $120k as a literary adviser to the Revue des deux Mondes. The absence of evidence of work by Penelope Fillon and her distance from political life, however, led the newspaper to suspect that these jobs were fictitious.
In addition, the weekly also revealed that two of the couple’s children, Charles and Marie Fillon, received $100k while employed from 2005 to 2007 as assistants to their father, then a Senator.
The French Justice Department has now officially decided to charge both Mr Fillon and his wife with corruption and bribery, which could eventually lead to prison sentences for them.