Leader of the French far-right National Front party and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called excuses of Francois Fillon, France's presidential candidate of The Republicans party, regarding employing his wife "lie."
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Excuses of Francois Fillon, France's presidential candidate of The Republicans party, regarding employing his wife are false, leader of the French far-right National Front party and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Tuesday, adding that Fillon should have known the consequences of such initiative.
On Monday, Fillon apologized to the French for the "error" he made in employing his wife, adding that he could understand that the public opinion on certain issues had changed over time and employing family was no longer acceptable, even if legally permitted.
"I do not understand anything of what Francois Fillon says and does… This is lie," Le Pen said in an interview with LCI TV channel, adding that Fillon's claims that he had not really understood that the French would not appreciate his further cooperation with any of the relatives were contradicting to his decision to terminate the contract with the wife a few days before the scandal erupted.
Le Pan stressed that she was not urging Fillon to withdraw from the presidential race.
She noted that the only thing she was interested in regarding this issue was the clients of Fillon's firm, namely, whether there were any Qatari and Saudi clients.
Fillon, who was initially one of the pollsters' favorites, saw his ratings drop after the scandal broke out in late January around his wife allegedly fraudulent employment.
The financial prosecutors opened an investigation into Fillon's wife case on January 25 after the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine reported that she had been paid up to $8,500 for working as her husband's parliamentary aide and received a $5,400 gross monthly salary at the prestigious cultural magazine La Revue des Deux Mondes, owned by Fillon's friend Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere. Le Canard Enchaine also claimed that the children of the couple, who worked as his assistants between 2005 and 2007 at the upper house of the French parliament, had earned about $90,700, though it was unclear whether Fillon's children had really exercised their job responsibilities.
The center-right candidate has repeatedly denied all accusations and pledged to continue fighting.
The first round of the French presidential elections is slated for April 23, with the run-off scheduled for May 7.