Published: Wed, March 15, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

Fresh furore in France over who paid for Fillon's bespoke suits

Fresh furore in France over who paid for Fillon's bespoke suits

Francois Fillon's conservative political party apologized for tweeting an apparently anti-Semitic caricature of rival presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

The person who signed the cheques paying for the suit, who was not identified, told the paper that he paid "at the request" of Fillon, adding: "without receiving the slightest thanks since then", the Telegraph reported.

The weekly gave no further details.

On the economic front, he reiterated his plans to slash public spending by getting civil servants to work 39 hours a week, up from 35 now, and increasing the minimum retirement age to 65 from 62. "I am the target of so many attacks that I can't consider them anything other than a sort of witch hunt", he told Europe 1 radio on Monday.

Fillon was called in for questioning over having employed his wife as a parliamentary assistant, a job for which she was paid, allegedly without doing the required work.

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Fillon, who is now trailing in third place in the presidential race, claims he's the victim of "political assassination", Reuters reports.

PARIS Fresh doubts surfaced on Tuesday over the financial propriety of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon with the opening of an inquiry by parliament's ethics chief into how he came to accept a gift of two bespoke suits worth 13,000 euros ($13,835) last month.

"There's only one thing that could prevent me from being candidate. I will not tolerate my party using caricatures that use the themes of antisemitic propaganda", Fillon tweeted, saying he had demanded his party chief apologize and sanction the people responsible. He insists he did nothing illegal and that he is the victim of politically motivated reports created to destroy his bid for power after five years of Socialist Francois Hollande.

Since news of that scandal emerged on January 25, Fillon has tumbled from being the frontrunner to third place in opinion polls, a position that will eliminate him on April 23.

The Opinionway poll foresaw Macron beating Le Pen in the May 7 runoff by 62 percent to her 38.

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