French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is refusing to pull out of the race despite being placed under formal investigation on suspicion of embezzling public funds.
The decision by magistrates puts him one step closer to a trial but the centre-right politician denies wrongdoing.
With less than six weeks to go Fillon has been unable to draw a line under allegations that he paid his wife with public money for no work.
Fillon is not the only candidate being touched by judicial probes. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen who is campaigning on a nationalist, anti-immigration platform is facing allegations she underpaid taxes on a mansion that she and her father own.
French medi reports claim the tax authorities are discussing a possible deal with Le Pen that would see her pay 63,000 euros in back taxes. le Pen’s lawyer has declined to comment.
Meanwhile prosecutors are looking into alleged irregularities at an event in Las Vegas last year which had been promoted by Emmanuel Macron. The independent centrist candidate is categorically not involved in the investigation.
Presidential candidate #Fillon put under formal fraud investigation March 14,
BBC</a>. More on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/France?src=hash">#France</a>'s upcoming vote: <a href="https://t.co/X8SmHC5ahG">https://t.co/X8SmHC5ahG</a> <a href="https://t.co/LwRHwigAHN">pic.twitter.com/LwRHwigAHN</a></p>— Stratfor (Stratfor) March 14, 2017