Presidential hopeful Fillon fails to shake off graft claims

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François Fillon, the presidential election candidate for the French conservative party Les Républicains, appeared on French television on Thursday evening in an attempt to contain the scandal caused by press revelations this week that his wife was paid 500,000 euros from MPs’ funds to act as his parliamentary assistant, a role which, it is alleged, she did not fulfil. Fillon, who was just one month ago regarded as the presidential election frontrunner, denounced the "abject nature of these accusations” but failed to provide clear evidence that his wife Penelope carried out the job she was paid for, while he also admitted to having employed two of his children when he was a senator. Ellen Salvi reports.

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François Fillon, the former prime minister and conservative party candidate for the French presidential elections this spring, appeared on television on Thursday evening for an interview in which he attempted to limit a scandal that has severely dented the campaign of a man who just one month ago was tipped to become France’s next president.