HASH(0xbf5558)

French prosecutors maintain probe into candidate Fillon

French prosecutors maintain probe into candidate Fillon

PARIS — French financial prosecutors decided Thursday to continue their investigation into embezzlement allegations against conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, saying they have too much evidence to drop the case.

Fillon’s team said he will maintain his campaign pending further investigation, which centres on claims that his wife and two of his children earned as much as 1 million euros ($1.1 million) for fake parliamentary jobs. Fillon has denied wrongdoing.

France’s already unpredictable presidential campaign plunged into new uncertainty when the national financial prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation last month into embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, after newspaper Le Canard Enchaine first reported about the parliamentary jobs.

The prosecutor’s office said Thursday it received the initial police report into the case Wednesday, and has decided to continue investigating.

“The numerous elements gathered already do not allow us to envisage dropping the case in its current state,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “The investigations will continue.”

Polls considered Fillon the front-runner for the April 23-May 7 election before the scandal erupted. Centrist Emmanuel Macron and nationalist Marine Le Pen have seen their poll numbers rise since then.

Fillon initially said he would step down from the race if he was given charges, but has recently appeared determined to continue his campaign despite the scandal.

Fillon’s lawyers said the prosecutor’s decision was “without justification” and accused the prosecutors of violating rules about investigative secrecy.

While it’s not illegal for politicians in France to employ family members, many voters were shocked by allegations that the Fillon family’s jobs were fake — and by the large sums they were paid. Fillon won the conservative primary on his reputation as an unsullied politician and his promises to slash public spending.

The prosecutor has not yet taken the case to the next level, a judicial inquiry, which would allow for preliminary charges. A judicial official stressed that prosecutors only have the initial police report and cannot make a decision on next steps until the final police report is submitted in the coming weeks.

Angela Charlton, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Battle of the concert bands in Lake Country

The annual Concert Band competition is held at Creekside Theatre April 24 to 26

Snoozed through the news? We’ve got you covered

Every Saturday, the Capital News will feature popular stories from the week

Immigrant finds Kelowna job market challenging

Pearl has a Master’s Degree in Finance and was able to find work through KCR

Okanagan Eats back for another year

Okanagan Eats features vendors, chef demos, and so much more. This isn’t your average food show.

Kelowna landfill flooding

The ground is soggy at the Kelowna landfill

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

5 things to know about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers in Canada

Number of illegal border crossings are up this year – as RCMP, military, politicians try to combat

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest one male on child pornography charges

Search of Canoe residence leads to seizure of computers

Letter: We need a parity electoral system

I suggest that it’s high time we consider a system based on a synthesis of available data

Most Read