Ex-French prime minister’s wife as a key figure in fake jobs fraud

François and Penelope Fillon

Since February 2020 France’s former prime minister Francois Fillon is on trial on fraud charges after he allegedly used public funds to pay his wife and children for work they never performed. But as the process continues it is his wife, Penelope Fillon at center stage of the fraud trial in Paris. She was known as the very discreet wife of a prominent politician who became France’s prime minister. Now the attention focuses on her due to the well-paid, public-funded jobs as an aide to her husband that she allegedly did not perform but received the benefits.

The Fillons have denied wrongdoing. On the last day of the trial on March 12. 2020, for embezzlement of public funds, the former prime minister and his wife asked for a release. The prosecutors asked for five years in prison, including a three-year suspended sentence, and a 375,000 euro ($417,870) fine against the former politician, and a three-year suspended sentence and the same fine against his spouse. Official judgment is to be rendered on June 29.

The allegations that Fillon, a fiscal conservative, paid his wife 613,000 euros net ($700,000) in public money over 15 years for a fictitious job knocked the frontrunner out of the race for president in 2017, facilitating the rise to power of Emmanuel Macron.

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- 12 March 2020 - EN