Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillion is now under formal investigation over allegations his wife was paid hundreds of thousands of taxpayer euros for work she never did, the latest in a string of blows to his lagging campaign. Matthew Larotonda reports.
French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is now under formal investigation for fraud. That stemming from allegations his wife was paid taxpayers' money for a government job she never did. A judicial source told Reuters that the conservative is suspected of diverting public funds and being complicit in misappropriating them. Reports surfaced in January that Fillon's wife, Penelope, was given hundreds of thousands of euros as his assistant, but never performed any work. The Republican's lawyer couldn't be reached for comment. But for weeks the former prime minister has denied wrongdoing, saying he was the victim of a witchhunt. It's the latest blow to Fillon's campaign. Once considered the frontrunner, he's now lagging in third place. On Monday (March 13) Fillon had to fend off another hit, apologising for his own Republican party. They tweeted a caricature of his main rival - centrist Emmanuel Macron - that Fillon himself said appeared anti-Semitic. And there are also reports he may have breached election rules for receiving a donation of two suits worth a combined 13,000 euros. A "formal investigation" means French law enforcement have found consistent evidence that Fillon was probably involved in a crime. Depending on how it proceeds, he could be headed towards a trial.