French ex-PM’s appeal hearing opens

The first hearing of former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s appeal against his conviction for embezzlement of public funds opened in a court in Paris, local media reported.

In 2020, Fillon was convicted of embezzlement by creating a fake job for his wife, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to several French newspapers, the first day of such hearings is mainly for formal procedures, and the case will now be studied by the judge until November 30.

Investigators found that between 1998 and 2013, Penelope Fillon received a net income of 613,000 euros through three contracts known only to very close allies of her husband, but there was little documentary evidence of her actual work.

The former Prime Minister insisted that Penelope had been his most important employee, working for him in his rural constituency of Sarthe.

Last year, Francois and Penelope Fillon were respectively sentenced to five years in prison with a three-year suspended sentence, and a suspended three-year sentence.

Both were fined 375,000 euros ($420,000).

Francois Fillon was also given 10 years ineligibility, and his wife two years.