Former French PM, wife jailed over fake job

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French ex-Prime Minister François Fillon and his Welsh wife have received jail sentences in a fake jobs case.

The conservative politician was found guilty of paying Penelope Fillon €1.156m (£1.06m, $1.3m) for work she never did as a parliamentary aide.

He was sentenced to five years in prison, three of them suspended. She was given a three-year suspended term.

The scandal ruined his presidential bid in 2017. Both have appealed, blocking Fillon’s immediate detention.

The 66-year-old is the most senior French political figure to receive a custodial sentence since the start of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

Coronavirus masks obscured the couple’s expressions as the verdicts were read out.

Delivering the decision in a Paris courthouse, the presiding judge said: “The payment was disproportionate to the work done. Mrs Fillon was hired for a position that was without use.”

She was found guilty of complicity to embezzle and conceal public funds.

Both were given fines of €375,000 ($423,000). In addition, the couple were ordered to return more than €1m to the National Assembly, which employed Penelope Fillon from 1998 to 2013.

Her husband was also banned from public office for 10 years.

The terms matched the prosecutors’ sentence requests.

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