The Presidential hopeful has spent the last few days preparing to meet judicial investigators probing allegations he paid hundreds of thousands of euros of public money to his wife, Penelope, and their children for fake jobs.
The 63-year-old former prime minister had been summoned to meet examining magistrates on Wednesday.
But instead he was hauled in front of senior judges today for a meeting at which he was officially placed under investigation on suspicion of financial misconduct.
Parliament’s ethics chief has also revealed it is to open an inquiry into how he came to accept a gift of two bespoke suits worth £11,380 last month, in the latest twist in the tale.
Fillon however says he has done nothing illegal and has vowed to stay in the race for the presidency despite what he calls an attempted “political assassination.”
The embattled French presidential candidate is accused of high level misconduct crimes concerning almost one million euros, most of which was paid to his wife from parliamentary funds.
Several tens of thousands paid to his children Marie and Charles – but much of this cash was then transfered to their parents’ joint bank account.
Marie Fillon transferred some 70 per cent of around 46,000 euros back to her parents, which her lawyer Kiril Bougartchev claims is perfectly reasonable.
She told investigators the transfer was to repay them for the cost of her wedding at the family manor in western France.
He said: “She does whatever she likes with money she earns. If she wants to go on a holiday she goes on a holiday. If she wants to get married she gets married.”
While Charles Fillon similarly transferred about 30 perc ent of his monthly wage of 4,846 euros back to his mother and father.
Francois Fillon’s lawyer told Le Parisien there was nothing unusual about the transfer.
The prosecutor’s office and Fillon’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
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