Friday, 3 March 2017

Police raid Francois Fillon's home as fake jobs scandal deepens

Police in Paris have raided the home of Francois Fillon, as the ongoing investigation into an alleged fake jobs scandal threatens to derail his presidential campaign.
The right-wing candidate is facing claims he paid his wife and children hundreds of thousands of euros in taxpayers' money for work they did not do.

Mr Fillon's home was searched as he visited wine growers on the campaign trail in southern France.

Investigators had raided the embattled politician's parliamentary office last month.

Even though the Republican candidate has been summoned by judges to face charges stemming from the scandal on 15 March, Mr Fillon has remained defiant - vowing to continue his campaign and "fight to the end".

Senior colleagues have warned that the party risks being dragged "into an abyss" if Mr Fillon fails to withdraw from the race - with a former leader of Les Republicains urging him to stand down in an article for Le Figaro.

Three lawmakers from the party, as well as the treasurer for Mr Fillon's campaign, defected yesterday because of the pending corruption charges against him.

In announcing their departures, some said the campaign was "incompatible" with their political vision - while others expressed dismay that Mr Fillon has reneged on his promise to step down if he was charged.
Despite the scandal, thousands of people attended Mr Fillon's rally in the town of Nimes last night, where he told the crowds: "My life has been put to the test in recent weeks."

He continues to deny any wrongdoing in the case - describing the allegations as "entirely calculated to stop me being a candidate for the presidential election".

The latest polls suggest Mr Fillon is in third place, and would win 19% to 20% of the vote when the first round of the presidential election takes place on 23 April.

That would put him behind centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

SKY     News.