Former French PM Fillon sentenced to jail for embezzling public funds

(FILE) - Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon leaving his apartment in Paris, France. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT

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A French court on Monday sentenced former Prime Minister Francois Fillon to five years in jail, three of them suspended, for embezzling public funds in a scandal that wrecked his 2017 run for president.

The court also found Fillon’s wife, Penelope, guilty for her role in the scam that saw her receive about 1 million euros for minimal work as her husband’s parliamentary assistant. She received a suspended three-year sentence.

In a scathing ruling, the chief judge said Fillon, 66, had eroded public trust in the political class as a result of paying his wife a salary that was disproportionate to the work done.

“Mrs. Fillon was hired for a position that was without use,” chief judge Nathalie Gavarino told the couple.

The Fillons would appeal the verdict, defence lawyer Antonin Levy said. It means Fillon will avoid going to jail before the appeal is heard.

A consummate political insider who was prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy from 2007-2012, Fillon had been the frontrunner in the election race when the allegations surfaced.

via Reuters

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