Embattled conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon accused the left-wing party of being behind his wife’s fake job scandal, which he described “an institutional coup d’etat.”

“We are facing an institutional coup d’etat. This affair does not come from us, it comes from the left”, Xinhua news agency quoted Fillon as saying on Wednesday.

The former Prime Minister asked conservative lawmakers to show “solidarity” and “hold on for 15 days,” until financial investigators unveiled the outcome of the preliminary inquiry into allegations that Penelope Fillon had been paid more than 900,000 euros ($969,750) for work as a parliamentary assistant and for a culture magazine she hadn’t done, according to press claims.

The satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported last week that the Republican presidential candidate hired two of his five children as parliamentary assistants when he was a senator. Both had earned 84,000 euros.

Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting, government spokesperson Stephane Le Foll said Fillon’s remarks were “unacceptable.”

A week ago, financial prosecutors had opened a preliminary inquiry into the possible “misuse of public funds” and “misappropriation of assets” relating to Fillon’s wife’s “fictitious” job.

As the investigation gathers momentum, investigators searched French parliament on Tuesday. However, no material evidence, including an access badge and specific emails when she was a parliamentary assistant, were found during the raid, according to local reports.

First Published | 2 February 2017 8:58 AM
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