Justice ruled a second time in the case that had plagued the campaign for the Elysee Palace of the right-wing candidate in 2017. The Paris Court of Appeal sentenced, Monday, May 9, the former Prime Minister François Fillon to four years in prison, including one firm, and his wife, Penelope, to two years in prison suspended and a fine of 375,000 euros, in the case of suspicion of fictitious jobs.
François Fillon, 68, and Penelope Fillon, 66, who have contested any fictitious employment from the start, were not present at the delivery of the decision, nor was the former deputy of the first to the post of deputy in Sarthe , Marc Joulaud, 54 years old. They have all three announced their intention to appeal in cassation, in order to study “the attack on the separation of powers, the unfair conduct of this procedure or the acquisition of the prescription”, according to their lawyers.
Withdrawn from political life, Mr. Fillon announced at the end of February, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, resign from office on the boards of Russian companies Sibur (petrochemicals) and Zarubezhneft (hydrocarbons).
“My wife worked alongside me, that’s undeniable”
In first instance, June 29, 2020the tenant of Matignon from 2007 to 2012 had been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, including two years in prison, a fine of 375,000 euros and ten years of ineligibility, for embezzlement of public funds, complicity and concealment of misuse of property social.
His wife had been given a three-year suspended prison sentence, a 375,000 euro fine and two years of ineligibility, and Mr. Joulaud a three-year suspended sentence, a 20,000 euro suspended fine and five years of ineligibility. The couple immediately appealed and returned to the stand in November, maintaining the same defense in a much less electric atmosphere than at the first trial.
“I was not a fictitious MP mainly concerned with money”protested François Fillon in an introductory statement, deploring “forty years of commitment [politique] erased by an article in a satirical newspaper and an incriminating investigation”. “My wife worked alongside me, that’s undeniable”he had assured.
On appeal, the public prosecutor’s office had requested lower sentences those pronounced by the court. Against François Fillon, he had demanded five years in prison, including one year under an electronic bracelet, as well as a fine of 375,000 euros.
For his Franco-Welsh wife, the public prosecutor had requested a two-year suspended prison sentence as well as a fine of 100,000 euros and for Marc Joulaud a three-year suspended prison sentence. Ineligibility sentences of ten, two and three years respectively had also been required.
“Impalpable” or even “evanescent” activities
A “cluster of clues” allows to establish the “fiction” of Penelope Fillon’s three jobs as parliamentary assistant to her husband and his deputy between 1998 and 2013, paid a total of 612,000 euros net, had supported the general counsel, ironically on activities “impalpable” even “evanescent”.
For the prosecution, the hiring of Mme Fillon as “literary advisor” in 2012-2013 within the Review of two worlds was a “employment of pure convenience” conceded by Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, owner of the publication and close to François Fillon.
The magistrates had, on the other hand, requested a partial condemnation for the collaboration contracts signed by two children of the Fillon with their senator father between 2005 and 2007, and an acquittal for the non-declaration of a loan.
The National Assembly had requested, as in the first instance, the reimbursement of just over one million euros. On the contrary, according to the couple, Penelope Fillon realized ” in the field “ in the Sarthe a job certainly “immaterial” but good ” real “.
Stigmatizing a file which ” is reduced “ as “skin of grief”François Fillon’s lawyer, Mr.and Antonin Lévy, pleaded for release, citing « 41 certificates [établissant] in a precise and detailed manner the contribution of Mme Fillon ».
The defendant’s lawyers had denounced a “media madness” around ““Penelopegate””asserting that if she had indeed been “closet” within the Review of two worldsshe was fine ” work “. The owner of the Review, Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, was sentenced in 2018 for misuse of corporate assets, recognizing a partly fictitious contract.
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François Fillon sentenced on appeal to four years in prison, including one firm in the case of fictitious jobs
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