Ex French PM Fillon loses appeal over 'fake jobs' scandal

AFP - [email protected] • 9 May, 2022 Updated Mon 9 May 2022 14:34 CEST
Ex French PM Fillon loses appeal over 'fake jobs' scandal
Former French Prime minister Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope Fillon arriving at court in 2020. Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

A French appeals court on Monday upheld a conviction against former rightwing prime minister François Fillon for providing a fake parliamentary assistant job to his wife that saw her paid millions of euros in public funds.


But the court reduced his sentence to four years in prison with three suspended - down from five years with three suspended when he was first found guilty in 2020 over a scandal that derailed Fillon's presidential ambitions.

His wife Penelope Fillon was given a suspended two-year prison sentence for the embezzlement charge, down from three years suspended, and the court maintained fines of €375,000 for each of them.


They were also ordered to repay €800,000 to the lower-house National Assembly, which reimbursed Penelope for the job as Fillon's assistant, and which was a civil plaintiff in the case.

Under French sentencing guidelines, it is unlikely that Fillon will spend any time behind bars, and can be ordered instead to wear an ankle-bracelet.

The couple, which insisted during the Paris appeals court trial that Penelope had done genuine constituency work, was not in court for the verdict.

At the November appeals hearing, prosecutors said there was clear evidence that Fillon and his stand-in as MP for the Sarthe department, Marc Joulaud, employed Fillon's wife Penelope in an "intangible" or "tenuous" role as a parliamentary assistant between 1998 and 2013.

The court upheld the original three-year suspended sentence for Joulaud.


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