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France Ex-PM Fillon Found Guilty Of Fraud, Sentenced To Five-year Jail Term

A Paris court convicted Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on June 29 for using public funds to pay his wife and children for the work they never did.

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A Paris court convicted Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on June 29 for using public funds to pay his wife and children for the work they never did. The 66-year-old leader has been sentenced to a five-year prison term, of which three has been suspended, a fine of 375,000 euros, and banned from seeking a public office for 10 years.

Fillon’s wife, Penelope, has also been found guilty of being an accomplice to her husband in the fraud case and given a three-year suspended sentence with the same amount of fine. The lawyers of the couple immediately announced an appeal after the verdict and Fillon will remain free pending appeal.

The high-profile scandal broke in the French media in 2017, just three months before the presidential elections in which he was a front-runner. However, the scandal-hit campaign cost Fillon his reputation and the former PM ended up in third place in the election which was comprehensively won by Emmanuel Macron.

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The French leader was accused of misappropriating the company assets and misuse of public funds while his wife was charged for being an accomplice to all the crimes. Fillon became one of the youngest lawmakers at the age of 27 and went on to serve as prime minister from 2007-2012 under the then President Nicolas Sarkozy who has been indicted for illegally financing his 2012 re-election campaign.

Corruption-marred leadership

The former president was accused of hiding the cost of his re-election campaign with the help of a public relations firm. The 64-year-old is facing multiple corruption charges since he left the office in 2012. According to the preliminary charges, Sarkozy was accused of taking millions from the then Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. 

Sarkozy was also accused of illegally obtaining information from a magistrate about another investigation. He was suspected of a quid pro quo with the magistrate promising him a job in exchange of information on the investigation involving him. The quid pro quo was for investigation in alleged illegal financing for the 2007 presidential campaign.

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(Image: AP)

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