French presidential candidate Francois Fillon placed under formal investigation by French prosecutor for misuse of public funds

Caitlin Morrison
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Francois Fillon was previously favourite to win the election (Source: Getty)

French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has been placed under formal investigation for misuse of public funds, the country's prosecutor has confirmed.

Fillon reportedly employed his wife Penelope, who was brought up in Abergavenny in South Wales, and paid her more than €800,000 (£682,000) for work as a parliamentary assistant which was never done. He also allegedly employed two of his children in "fake jobs".

The Republicains party candidate was hit by fresh scandals over the weekend, when it was revealed that he accepted two suits from a friend worth €13,000. French election rules set a limit of €4,600 on the donations an individual can make.

The former French prime minister denies any wrongdoing.

The scandal has rocked his campaign: previously considered the favourite, there are now concerns that the allegations surrounding Fillon could pave the way for a Marine Le Pen victory at next month's election.

Also running against Fillon is former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who said earlier this year that he plans to lure banks from London to Paris in the aftermath of Brexit.

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