French court sentences former PM Fillion, wife to jail

 A French court has sentenced former French prime minister, François Fillon and his Welsh wife, Penelope, to jail for embezzling public funds.

Francois was found guilty of creating a fake job for his wife, using taxpayer money.

The 66- year-old was accused of creating a position that paid his wife over €1 million ($1.13 million) in public funds, a charge that cost him his 2017 presidential bid. His wife, Penelope, was also found guilty of being complicit in the case.

He was additionally accused of getting the millionaire owner of a literary magazine to pay his wife €135,000 for “consulting work.”

Mr Fillon was sentenced to five years in prison, three of which were suspended, as well as a €375,000 fine. Fillon was also banned from running for elected office for 10 years.

His wife was handed a three year suspended sentence and fined the same amount.

Mrs Fillon was 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 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.

The couple, who have five children, were additionally convicted of employing their two eldest, Marie and Charles, between 2005 and 2007, paying them a combined €117,000.

A third accused, Marc Jouland, who took over Fillon’s constituency as MP in the Assemblée Nationale while he was prime minister was given a three-year suspended sentence and fined €20,000.

François Fillon previously served as prime minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right government between 2007 and 2012.

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