Penelope Fillon received 45 000 euros of severance pay, paid for by the French National Assembly, according to Le Canard enchaîné on Wednesday.
According to the weekly newspaper, Ms Fillon received in August 2002 “16,000 euros in compensation, the equivalent of five months’ salary” . These allowances are for the period 1998-2002, during which she was paid 165,686 euros net wages as parliamentary assistant to her husband.
Like all employees, parliamentary assistants are entitled to severance pay. But according to Le Canard enchaîné, “the law does not provide such a level (…) for a parliamentary collaborator” .
In addition, Ms Fillon would have received in summer 2002 double salary for her work as an assistant to her husband – with whom the contract was terminated on August 21 – and his deputy, Marc Joulaud.
Moreover, when Mr. Fillon ended his term as Prime Minister in November 2013, his wife collected “29 thousand euros” of “bonuses” for seventeen months of paid work 65 839 euros net.
Money for nothing
Le Canard Enchaine also found no physical evidence of Ms Fillon working for her husband. This correlates with an interview she gave to the English newspaper The Telegraph in 2007 where she said “I have never been actually his assistant or anything like that. I don’t deal with his communication”
There have been growing calls for Mr Fillon – who was leading in the French presidential polls until the scandal erupted last week – to stand down.
On Monday, Mrs Fillon and her husband were questioned separately as part of a preliminary inquiry into whether she was paid more than half a million euros for a job as his parliamentary assistant, and as aide to his replacement, while in fact steering clear of his political activities.
She also faces allegations that she was unfairly paid €100,000 by a magazine called La Revue des Deux Mondes, owned by a close friend of Mr Fillon’s, for writing a handful of short articles.
Mr Fillon has repeatedly claimed there was no wrong doing, though in a press conference on Monday, 7th February acknowledged there had been a “mistake”, and repeated his desire to keep his candidacy for presidency.