French fake work probe on Fillon continues

PARIS: France’s financial prosecutor said on Thursday she would pursue a probe into fake work allegations about presidential candidate Francois Fillon (pictured), dealing a new blow to the ex-prime minister’s faltering campaign.
A three-week-old scandal over whether or not Fillon’s wife worked for hundreds of thousands of euros in taxpayers’ money paid to her as a parliamentary aide has cost the conservative his status as favourite to win the presidency in May.
“It is my duty to affirm that the numerous elements collected (by investigators) do not, at this stage, permit the case to be dropped,” prosecutor Eliane Houlette said in a statement after receiving an initial police report on whether public funds were misused.
She did not announce further steps. Among her choices are dropping the case, taking it further by appointing an investigating magistrate, or sending it straight to trial. A source close to the case said it now looked unlikely that the financial prosecution service, set up under President Francois Hollande in 2013, would drop the case. — Reuters