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France

New 'fake' job revelations rock Fillon's presidential bid

media Penelope and François Fillon at a campaign rally on Sunday Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

French presidential candidate François Fillon's wife was paid nearly a million euros for allegedly fake jobs, according to media reports that also say two of his chidren were paid from the public purse. Penelope Fillon had no security pass or email account at the National Assembly, despite being her husband's parliamentary assistant, it has emerged.

Penelope Fillon's employment as a parliamentary assistant and at the Revue des Deux Mondes magazine brought her a total of 900,000 euros, according to the Canard Enchaîné weekly.

The paper, which broke the story about her allegedly fake jobs that has rocked the former prime minister's presidential bid, has upped its estimate of her income from the parliamentary assistant's post from 500,000 euros to 831,440 euros.

She was also paid 100,000 euros by the Revue des Deux Mondes, which is owned by a family friend, without any literary output in her name having come to light.

No pass or email account

Investigators on Tuesday went to François Fillon's office in the National Assembly to search for evidence that Penelope Fillon had actually done any work.

They found that she had no security pass and no email account there, according to Le Parisien newspaper.

The couple's lawyer, Antonin Lévy, confirmed that this was true but said it was unimportant.

Many parliamentary assistants who work in the MP's constituency do not have passes, he told the paper, and they often use the email account of the MP they work for.

If Mme Fillon did work in the constituency, it was from home, however, since it has emerged that Fillon had no office there.

The inquiry is looking into her work as an assistant to her husband and then his alternate, Marc Joulaud, in 1998-2007 and then for her husband again in 2012-2013.

More family on public pay roll

And, when Fillon went on to be a senator, in 2005-2007, he employed two of his children as assistants, according to the Canard Enchaîné.

The couple, who may face charges of embezzlement of public funds, misappropriation of corporate assets and receiving stolen goods, were questioned by investigators at their own request on Monday.

They said in a statement that they had "provided useful elements for the establishment of the truth".

Fillon was selected as the mainstream right's presidential candidate in a primary last month but the revelations have plunged his campaign into crisis.

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