Fillon's 'fake work' probe looks set to foil Elysee bid

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By Christopher Cummins  with Agencies
Fillon's 'fake work' probe looks set to foil Elysee bid

The presidential campaign of former French Prime Minister, François Fillon, is in tatters after France’s financial prosecutor said a probe into fake work allegations remains open.

The scandal over hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money paid to his wife for work she may or may not have done has cost Fillon his shot at the Elysee Palace.

Prosecutor Éliane Houlette said: “It is my duty to affirm that the numerous elements collected by investigators do not, at this stage, permit the case to be dropped.”

The case can now go in one of three directions: thrown out, probed further by an investigating magistrate or sent straight to trial.

The first round of the election takes place on April 23 and far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, leads in the polls and looks likely to win.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron is set to benefit from Fillon’s fall from grace.

The vote goes to a second round on May 7 in a run-off between the two leading candidates from the first round.

Opinion polls show Le Pen would come second by a large margin during that concluding ballot.