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French presidential candidate to face trial over fake jobs scandal

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By Reuters
French presidential candidate to face trial over fake jobs scandal

PARIS (Reuters) – Former French presidential candidate Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope will face trial over the fake jobs scandal that destroyed his 2017 campaign, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

At one stage the clear favourite to win the Elysee Palace keys, Fillon’s campaign was plunged into crisis when a satirical weekly reported Penelope had been paid hundreds of thousands of euros for doing little work, including several years as his parliamentary assistant.

Fillon, 65, also paid two of their children for work as lawyers when he was a senator between 2005 and 2007.

Fillon’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At the time, Fillon denounced what he called a dirty tricks campaign and denied having done anything illegal, though he admitted an error of judgement.

A consummate political insider and former prime minister during Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, Fillon resisted pressure from inside his party to pull out of the race and was eliminated in the first round of the election.

President Emmanuel Macron went on to beat far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the run-off.

(Reporting by Simon Carraud, Writing by Richard Lough, editing by Ed Osmond)