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Former French PM Fillon sentenced to jail for embezzlement

A French appeal court has upheld the conviction of former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon for embezzling public funds and fictitious employment of his wife Penelope.

The Guardian reports.

In 2018, Fillon was accused of fictitiously employing his wife as his assistant while he was a member of the National Assembly. At the same time, Penelope received a salary from state funds for 15 years, but did nothing. Her total earnings were estimated at more than 800 thousand euros.

The scandal against Fillon broke out in the media in 2017 when he was a candidate in the presidential elections. But Fillon was defeated.

For his part, Fillon repeatedly said his wife carried out certain assistant duties including opening his mail and proofreading his speeches.

In 2020, François Fillon was sentenced to five years in prison, three of which were suspended, a fine of 375 thousand euros and a 10-year ban from holding public office. His wife was given two-year suspended sentence and the same fine. However, had been allowed to remain free pending the outcome of the appeal.

Now the appeal has reduced the ex-premier’s prison term from two years to one year.

The couple announced that they were referring the case to France’s highest judicial authority.