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France’s former prime minister Francois Fillon and his wife found guilty in fraud trial

Fillon was accused of using public funds to pay his wife and children for work they never performed.

France’s former prime minister Francois Fillon, left, and his wife Penelope, arrive at the Paris courthouse, in Paris
France’s former prime minister Francois Fillon, left, and his wife Penelope, arrive at the Paris courthouse, in Paris
Image: Thibault Camus via PA Images

FRANCE’S EX-PRIME minister Francois Fillon and his wife have been found guilty in a fraud trial.

Fillon was accused of using public funds to pay his wife and children for work they never performed.

The former prime minister and his wife Penelope, who comes originally from Wales, had denied any wrongdoing.

Fillon was sentenced to five years in prison, three of them suspended, and a €375,000 fine.

He is also banned from seeking an elected office for 10 years.

He remains free pending appeal.

His wife was found guilty as an accomplice and was given a three-year suspended sentence and the same size fine.

The scandal broke in the French media just three months before the country’s 2017 presidential election, as Fillon was the front-runner in the race. It cost him his reputation.

Fillon sunk to third place in the election, which was won by Emmanuel Macron.

The work had brought the family more than €1 million since 1998.

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After missing out on a place in the run-off in 2017, Fillon, who was France’s prime minister from 2007 to 2012, then left politics.

A last-minute request from Fillon’s lawyers had cast uncertainty over whether a verdict would be delivered today.

The move came after the former head of France’s financial prosecutors, Eliane Houlette, said earlier this month that she had come under pressure over her handling of the case, in reference to close supervision by her superiors.

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