French parliament raided by investigators in Francois Fillon probe

Marine Le Pen

More than three quarters of French voters are not convinced by presidential candidate Francois Fillon's defense over allegations that he paid hefty salaries to his wife for job he had never did, a survey showed on Tuesday. She has not commented.

With the inquiry gathering pace, party officials began to wonder whether, and how, they might replace him.

While lawmakers are entitled to employ family members, the Canard Enchaine weekly behind the revelations said it could find no witnesses to Penelope's work.

Investigators have searched the French parliament as part of an investigation into ongoing allegations of financial impropriety committed by presidential candidate Francois Fillon.

He has vowed to slash 500,000 public sector jobs, cut benefits and increase working time.

From midnight, the National Front (FN) leader faces a pay cut of some 7,000 euros a month as punishment from the European Union parliament for using money earmarked for a parliamentary assistant to pay one of her own party officials. They were also questioned over money received by Penelope for work at a literary review.


However, there was no evidence she had really worked, the report said. She has not spoken publicly on the affair.

The head of the parliamentary Republicans Party, Christian Jacob, has said that MPs were unanimous in their support for Mr Fillon, 62, and were standing by him. It added that the Fillons' children were also paid - a combined 84,000 euros.

The payments involved were made in the years between 1988 and 2013, the newspaper said.

The poll was carried out online on Monday and Tuesday among 974 people.

"I'm confident, I'm unperturbed".

The poll suggests she will get around 25%.

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