French Justice condemned former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Monday in the so-called case of fictitious jobs, a scandal that took him away from the Elysee in 2017 and damaged his public image, revealing that he hired his wife as a parliamentary assistant without this hold that office.
The judicial and media “crossroads” began for the former head of government of Nicolas Sarkozy in January of that same year, when the satirical weekly “Le Canard Enchainé” exclusively published the fraud, and now received the verdict as the culmination of an initiated trial on February 26.
The Paris Correctional Court issued him two years of imprisonment and another three years of non-compliance, in addition to a fine of 375,000 euros and ten years of disqualification. As his lawyers announced that they will appeal the sentence, the former head of the government was released pending a new trial.
His wife, Penelope, also present in the room and with a serious gesture, received another identical fine and three years exempt from compliance, the same as Marc Joulaud, a deputy who also hired her after Fillon gave him his constituency when he became minister. of Social Affairs by Jacques Chirac.
Joulaud will also have to pay 20,000 euros, and among the three they have to repay more than a million to the National Assembly, which had been set up as a private prosecution.
A MILLION-MONTH DIVERSION OF FUNDS
The total diversion of funds, directly or indirectly, amounts to about 1.5 million and the Court made it clear on Monday that there is no tangible evidence to demonstrate its work, justify that amount and be proportional to the activities attributed.
Penelope Fillon was hired as her husband’s assistant between 1998 and 2002 and from 2012 to 2013, and as Joulaud’s assistant from 2002 to 2007. The room also saw no reason for her contract as literary advisor in the magazine “La Revue des Deux Mondes”, owned by a businessman close to the then leader of the right.
Their employment “did not obey any logic, neither in terms of need nor of salary,” stressed the president of the room, Nathalie Gavarino, for whom none of the three accused, due to their experience and training, could ignore that they were committing an offense .
The court found that Fillon, who also hired two of his children from 2005 to 2007, started, directly or through his substitute, an organization that allowed funds for the payment of collaborators to be diverted for his personal benefit.
JUDGMENT MARKED BY THE POLEMIC
The now convicted were hopeful that their request to reopen the oral hearing would be accepted after former Chief Financial Prosecutor Eliane Houlette reported pressure from her superiors during the investigation.
The rejection of that request processed last week left them the only possibility of appeal.
“The sentence is not fair. We are going to appeal it and there will be a new trial that will be especially necessary because in recent days the scandalous conditions in which the instruction was carried out have been seen,” said lawyer Antonin Lévy.
Both Fillon, 66, and his wife, 64, were charged primarily with embezzlement of public funds and misappropriation of social assets, while Joulaud, 52, was charged with embezzlement of public funds.
When the scandal broke, whoever was Sarkozy’s chief executive from 2007 to 2012 was the favorite candidate for the Gallic presidential elections of May 2017. He did not abandon the electoral contest but finished third in the first round of those elections, which gave the victory to Emmanuel Macron.
Fillon had made honesty one of the pillars of his political identity and the controversy not only affected his own party, but also resulted in the introduction of new rules in France.
Although deputies hired family members as assistants was a widespread and legal practice in the country, Parliament banned it in August 2017 under the “moralization of public life” law promised by Macron during his campaign.