France's scandal-hit Fillon put under formal fraud investigation

France's scandal-hit Fillon put under formal fraud investigationBy Brian Love and Simon Carraud PARIS (Reuters) – French presidential candidate Francois Fillon was put under formal investigation by magistrates on Tuesday on suspicion of embezzling state funds – a move that may ruin the right-winger’s hopes of winning power in May. Fillon’s campaign has been dogged by allegations he lavishly paid his British wife Penelope and two of his children hundreds of thousands of euros of public money for assistance, but he has refused to pull out of the presidential race. The former prime minister had been due to meet investigators on Wednesday but, in a surprise move, the meeting was brought forward by 24 hours – apparently to spare Fillon the full glare of the media. The 63-year-old conservative candidate was put under formal investigation on suspicion of diverting public funds, complicity in misappropriating funds, receiving the funds and not declaring assets fully, a judicial source said.



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