The former Prime Minister of France François Fillon and his wife were found guilty of embezzling public funds Monday.
BREAKING: Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife found guilty of fraud for using public funds for nonexistent political jobs. https://t.co/DEuoI9PJkc
— AP Europe (@AP_Europe) June 29, 2020
Fillon was given five years in prison, three of which are suspended, for using public funding to pay his wife and two children for work they never did, according to the Associated Press. Fillon’s wife and children were paid more than $1.13 million since 1998. (RELATED: Italian Governor Gives Bear Death Penalty After Father And Son Attacked)
Fillon, 66, was also given a fine of $423,000 and is banned from seeking a position as an elected official for 10 years, per the AP. His wife, Penelope Fillon, was found guilty as an accomplice to embezzlement, given a three-year suspended sentence and fined the same amount. The couple has been ordered to reimburse the National Assembly more than 1 million euros to pay back the money that was taken.
Both have reportedly denied the charges. Penelope claims her job was to report about local issues, open the mail, meet with residents and help prepare speeches for local events, per the AP. François said the separation of powers denies the justice department the right to interfere with how a lawmaker organizes his work at his office.
Prosecutors were quick to point out that there is a lack of evidence of her work, including the lack of declarations for paid vacations and maternity leave, according to the AP.
Antonin Levy, Fillon’s lawyer, told reporters “there will be a new trial. We will be able to get a full and serene debate that will finally allow justice to be made.”
François Fillon served as prime minister from 2007 to 2012 and served as a minister under previous presidents Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac.