French police raid magazine in Fillon ‘fake job’ probe

French investigators have searched the offices of a magazine as part of a widening inquiry into whether presidential candidate Francois Fillon's wife was paid for allegedly fictitious jobs, sources told AFP Saturday.

French police raid magazine in Fillon 'fake job' probe
Michel Crépu, former editor of La Revue des Deux Mondes leaves the offices of the investigators. Photo: Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AFP
The raid late Thursday at La Revue des Deux Mondes follows the launch of the investigation into Penelope Fillon's role at the literary monthly, owned by a billionaire friend of her husband, as well as in the French parliament, where she was paid 500,000 euros ($534,000) as his aide.
The satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine, which broke the story, said the Welsh-born Penelope Fillon had done nothing to earn her salary at the legislature, since it had been unable to find anyone who remembered her working there.
The newspaper also alleged that in 2012 and 2013, Penelope Fillon was paid 5,000 euros a month at La Revue des Deux Mondes, owned by Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere, 76.
Francois Fillon, the rightwing presidential candidate, has seen a drop in popularity ratings following the revelations.    
La Revue des Deux Mondes (“The Review of the Two Worlds”) traces its roots to the French literary scene of the early 19th century. Contributors have included giants such as George Sand, Alexandre Dumas and Alphonse de Musset. The magazine today is focussed on politics and literary and, coincidentally, devoted its front page this month to Fillon.


Fillon ridiculed for saying he can’t save money (despite being on €13,000 a month)

French presidential candidate François Fillon was lambasted on Monday after claiming he wasn’t good at saving money. French news sites and social media users were quick to point out his healthy salary.

Fillon ridiculed for saying he can’t save money (despite being on €13,000 a month)
Photo: AFP

Fillon opened himself up for more yet more stinging criticism on Monday when he told BFM TV interviewer Jean-Jacques Bourdin that he struggled to put money aside.

Fillon, whose campaign has wobbled over allegations of fake jobs and free deluxe suits, was immediately blasted and mocked on social media and became the top story on French news sites.

His words immediately trended on Twitter where some pointed out that if he couldn’t sort out his own money then he shouldn’t be put in charge of the country’s.

Others were simply angered and accused him of being “disconnected from reality”.

“Shameful. When you know that most people in France are deprived of healthcare, food and leisure,” said one angry Tweeter.

While Fillon’s words may not have been the worst thing a politician has ever said the problem for the candidate is that his wealth is there for all to see, as most French newspapers were quick to point out.

As an MP in Paris he earns €7,200 a month and also has access to an extra €5,770 (tax free) to cover his costs.

On top of that Fillon opened his own consultancy company in 2012 called 2F Conseil which according to Le Monde newspaper pulled in €750,000 in three years.

In the declaration of his assets to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life Fillon was shown to have several bank accounts and life insurance policies worth around €100,000, according to Le Parisien.

READ ALSO: Take a closer look at François Fillon's manor in rural France

Take a closer look at François Fillon's manor in rural France

And those outraged by his words on Monday were quick to point out that the candidate lives in a chateau, which along with his other properties, are believed to be worth €750,000.

That’s not to mention the hundreds of thousands of euros his wife earned as a parliamentary assistant over the years.

According to France’s Observation of Inegalities Fillon’s monthly salary is better than 96 percent of all French workers.

Fillon’s words might not have caused such an uproar if it wasn’t for the fact that his plans to turn around France’s struggling economy are based on imposing harsh austerity.

Fillon wants to save €100 billion over five years as well as raise the retirement age, hike the legal working week from 35 to 39 hours and ditch 500,000 public service posts.

The candidate has suffered in the polls in recent weeks and trails behind Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, but he still believes he can overcome the odds and make the second round run-off vote.

Despite his troubles he still enjoys strong support among his base, who like Fillon, believe he is the victim of a media witch-hunt and a politically-motivated smear campaign.

They believe he has the best programme to turn France around.