French former PM Fillon gets four years jail, fine, for fake jobs scam

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A Paris appeals court has condemned Sarkozy-era French Prime Minister, François Fillon, to four years in jail, with an obligation to spend 12 months behind bars, for his part in defrauding the French state of over one million euros. He has been fined 375,000 euros.

François Fillon was lucky. The prosecution wanted to send him to jail for five years, with an obligation to serve 24 months of that sentence behind bars.

The 68-year-old was convicted by a lower court in 2020 and sentenced to five years in jail, three of them suspended.

At the appeals hearing last November, prosecutors said there was clear evidence that Fillon and his stand-in as MP for the Sarthe department, Marc Joulaud, employed Fillon's wife Penelope in an "intangible" or "tenuous" role as a parliamentary assistant between 1998 and 2013.

'Pay back the money'

On top of jail time and fines, the Fillons and Joulaud were ordered to repay more than one million euros to France's National Assembly lower house.

The appeals court has also confirmed the ban on Fillon holding public office for 10 years, while Penelope -- a serving local councillor -- received a two-year public office ban. She has been sentenced to a two year suspended jail term.

Since his fall from political grace, François Fillon has been working as a financial consultant.

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