French investigators searched the home of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope in Paris as part of the ongoing investigation into Penelope’s alleged fake employment as Fillon’s assistant, local media reported Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The raid of the couple’s home in the seventh arrondissement of Paris was conducted on Thursday’s morning following the launch of extensive probe into the case by the French financial prosecutor's office (PNF) on February 24, the Le Parisien newspaper reported.
The Republicans' nominee said Wednesday he was not guilty of fraudulently employing people close to him or embezzling and confirmed that he was summoned for an interview with investigating magistrate on March 15, adding that the timing of the probe was meant to obstruct his presidential campaign.
The financial prosecutors opened an inquiry into Fillon's wife case on February 25 after the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine reported that she had been paid up to $8,500 per month during her time as her husband’s assistant between 1998 and 2012 and received a $5,400 gross monthly salary at the magazine, owned by Fillon's friend. Le Canard Enchaine also claimed that the children of the couple, who worked as his assistants at the French parliament, had earned about $90,700, though it was unclear whether Fillon's children had really exercised their job responsibilities.
The center-right candidate has repeatedly denied all accusations and pledged to continue fighting. Though his popularity significantly dropped due to the scandal, Fillon refused to withdraw from the presidential race.
The first round of the French presidential elections is scheduled for April 23, with the run-off set for May 7.
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