30 Jun 2020
The former French prime minister François Fillon and his Welsh wife, Penelope, were sentenced to jail on Monday for embezzling public funds as part of a “fake jobs” scandal.
A court found the couple guilty of fraud after a trial heard he had paid her and two of the couple’s children about €1m for non-existent jobs as his parliamentary assistants.
In a scathing verdict, the judge said Fillon, 66, who was prime minister under the centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy, had eroded trust in France’s political class.
The court said Mrs Fillon, 64, was paid “the maximum possible” and that the sums were “out of proportion to her activities”.
“Nothing could have justified the remuneration she received,” said Nathalie Gavarino, the leading judge.
Mrs Fillon, née Clarke, from Llanover near Abergavenny, was also found guilty of having a “fake” job at a French-language monthly literary, cultural and political affairs magazine, Revue des Deux Mondes, run by one of her husband’s friends.
The couple, who have five children, were additionally convicted of employing their two eldest, Marie and Charles, in bogus jobs.
The court sentenced Fillon to five years in jail, three of them suspended, and ordered him to pay a €375,000 fine. He was disbarred from public office for 10 years. His wife was given a three-year suspended sentence. Immediately afterwards, the couple, who had denied the accusations, said they would appeal against the verdict.
By Kim Willsher, The Guardian, 29 June 2020
Read more at The Guardian
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