SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

Ex French PM Fillon loses appeal over ‘fake jobs’ scandal

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.

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

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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

SHOW COMMENTS