The Daily Telegraph

Fillon’s ‘plot’ claims rejected by Hollande

- Our Foreign Staff

By FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE, the French president, last night condemned allegation­s by François Fillon that he was involved in what the presidenti­al candidate alleges is a government plot to spread damaging media leaks about his financial affairs.

Mr Hollande “condemns with the greatest firmness the false allegation­s of Fillon”, his office said.

Mr Fillon had earlier accused Mr Hollande of being behind what he claimed was a plot against him.

“You have newspapers today which receive documents 48 hours after they were seized in searches, for example in my office in the National Assembly. Who gives them these documents? The government,” he said in a television interview.

Asked if politician­s or the justice system gave approval for this, Mr Fillon said: “I will go much further. I blame the president of the republic.” The 63-year-old former prime minister was the leader in the race for the Elysee and seemed comfortabl­y on course late last year to recover power for the centre-Right The Republican­s party after five years of Socialist rule.

That was until media reports in January sent his ratings tumbling by disclosing he had paid his wife Penelope and two children hundreds of thousands of euros of public funds for work they may not have carried out.

He is now under formal investigat­ion for misappropr­iation of public funds. A source close to the inquiry said on Tuesday that the inquiry was being broadened to include suspicion that false documents had been presented to justify the employment of his family members.

A lawyer for his Britishbor­n wife said all the documents pertaining to the work were “unquestion­ably genuine”. Mr Fillon has denied all the allegation­s.

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