France's Fillon placed under formal investigation

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Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has presented a new version of his campaign platform in an effort to claw back support amid a series of controversies and corruption allegations.

In February, Fillon said that if judges found enough evidence to formally put him under investigation, he would pull out of the presidential race.

It is a step towards a trial, but a number of such investigations have been dropped without going to court.

Mr Fillon, 63, has been personally placed under formal investigation over suspicions that he arranged for his wife Penelope to be paid public money for work as his parliamentary assistant which she did not actually carry out.

Two weeks after being first questioned, a formal criminal investigation into right-wing French presidential candidate Francois Fillon was launched today (Tuesday), according to the French prosecutor's office.

Monday's media offensive comes two days before Fillon is to meet judicial magistrates investigating the money paid to his wife Penelope and children.

The probe into the organisation of a promotional evening for French high-tech companies in Las Vegas does not target Mr Macron personally, but could add to disillusionment among French voters with their political class.

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"Those who don't respect the laws of the Republic should not be allowed to run".

Independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has overtaken Fillon in pre-election polls, increasingly appearing as the new front-runner.

The allegations over the allegedly illusory jobs have been particularly damaging to his campaign because Fillon used to tout his reputation for probity.

"I will not tolerate my party using caricatures that use the themes of anti-Semitic propaganda", Fillon tweeted, saying he had demanded his party chief apologize and sanction the people responsible.

Fillon's family members insist they did the work for which they were generously paid.

Up to now, the scandal has focused on payments to Fillon's wife and children.

The first round of the election will take place on April 23, while the run-off is scheduled for May 7.

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