Francois Fillon apologises for 'anti-Semitic' tweet about presidential rival Emmanuel Macron

Francois Fillon apologises for 'anti-Semitic' tweet about presidential rival Emmanuel Macron

Francois Fillon apologises for 'anti-Semitic' tweet about presidential rival Emmanuel Macron

François Fillon, the leading French conservative candidate for president, was formally placed under investigation Tuesday on suspicion of embezzling and misusing public funds, in the latest blow to a struggling campaign he refuses to abandon.

The center-right candidate is accused of using public funds to employ his wife and two children for fake tasks.

That's when French media first reported that Fillon used taxpayer money to pay his wife, Penelope, a handsome salary for years for doing a fictitious job.

Fillon 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".

Mr Fillon is now predicted by surveys to attract 20 per cent of the votes in the first round on April 23, not enough to qualify for the run-off round on May 7.

Many like his foreign affairs spokesman Bruno Le Maire were furious Fillon had initially said he would step down if mise en examen, the nearest French equivalent to being charged.

France's rightwing presidential candidate Francois Fillon said Monday that he was the target of a "witch hunt" by journalists after revelations that a wealthy friend had bought him luxury suits worth thousands of euros.

Fillon is up against far-right Marine Le Pen, centrist Emmanuel Macron and left-leaning Benoît Hamon & Jean-luc Melenchon respectively.

The report in the Journal du Dimanche came as Fillon prepares to appear before judges on Wednesday to face possible charges over payments totalling hundreds of thousands of euros to his wife for a suspected fake job as a parliamentary assistant.

Fillon's troubles deepened as more details related to the scandal emerged this week, tarnishing his carefully cultivated image as a sober and sensible custodian of France's future.

The newspaper said Charles Fillon similarly transferred back to his parents about 30 percent of the monthly wage of 4,846 euros he was paid by his father.

It is legal in France for politicians to hire family members, on condition that the work that they are paid for is in fact real.

Related news