Penelope Fillon, the wife of the French presidential candidate Francois Fillon, is facing a minimum of 10-years in prison after being charged with criminal offences. Yesterday, she was called in front of three Paris judges, for 13 hours, answering their questions on allegations of fraud and embezzlement.
The Welsh-born 61-year old woman has been formally accused about a month ago, but the accusation didn’t affect her husband’s intentions to stay in the competition for the coming presidential elections. The scandal burst out after the revelations that Ms Fillon has never set foot in the two offices, she was formally employed and yet she earned thousands. According to the record, one of the jobs was as a parliamentary assistant mainly to her husband. She was listed as an employee of the French parliament for 30 years, where she earned the total of €680,000. When asked how she did the job without even going to her working place, Ms Fillon answered, “I took care of the mail arriving at our home”. Her other occupation as editor in Revue des Deux Mondes (Review of the Two Worlds) payed her a salary of €100,000 over course of 20 months. She also admitted never to have been in the magazine’s office and, according to French media publications, she wrote only two reviews for the magazine in 2012-2013.
To top that, Penelope Fillon claimed that while working at two places she was also studying English literature at the Open university, an online platform for flexible higher education. Asked how she could handle so many tasks, Ms Fillon said she’d been organising her time efficiently over the whole week.
If she is found guilty, “the Wonder Woman” could face 10 years in prison and a €150,000 fine for charges of embezzlement of public funds and another 5 years and two fines of €375,000 each for the accusation of aggravated fraud and misappropriation of public funds.
Despite his promises that he will drop from the presidential competition if charges are evoked, once favourite French minister Francois Fillon, has stayed in the race. According to him, the investigation is only a conspiracy to threaten his campaign.