23 February 2017

French parliament unveils list of assistants amid Fillon ‘fake jobs’ probe

France’s lower-house National Assembly on Wednesday published a full list of lawmakers and their assistants in the wake of a ‘fake jobs’ scandal that has rocked François Fillon’s presidential campaign.

Fillon paid his wife Penelope hundreds of thousands of euros as his parliamentary assistant in the past, but French media reported they found no proof she actually did any work for him.

The conservative candidate has denied the allegations, but French financial prosecutors have refused to drop an investigation into the matter – dealing a heavy blow to his bid for the Elysée Palace

The names of all French parliamentary assistants was published on the National Assembly’s website on Tuesday evening, and will appear under each lawmaker’s personal page in the future.

The National Assembly said the lists of parliamentary assistants will be updated regularly. The list published on Tuesday includes only one assistant for Fillon: Anne Faguer.

Fillon was widely seen as the favourite in France’s presidential election this spring, but the allegations his wife took tax-payer money for a fake job have sent him tumbling in opinion polls.

New commission

Assembly Speaker Claude Bartolone, a Socialist, also announced on Wednesday that a commission to study the work of parliamentary assistants would be created.

The group will look into how aids are recruited and how their salaries are determined, among other matters.

The commission’s work would largely consist of examining best practices in foreign parliaments, Bartolone’s office said in a statement.