Founder of the Fondation Culture & Diversite (Culture and diversity foundation) Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere (AFP photo)
French media have reported that a fake jobs scandal that embroiled defeated rightwing presidential candidate Francois Fillon in January has claimed a new victim, a billionaire who reportedly employed the scandal-ridden wife of the Republican politician.  
The Journal du Dimanche newspaper said on Sunday that Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere, a businessman and a close friend of Fillon, employed Fillon's wife Penelope at his magazine La Revue des Deux Mondes from May 2012 to December 2013 with a pre-tax monthly salary of 5,000 euros (USD 5,500) a month.
Three investigating judges had reportedly summoned Ladreit de Lacharriere late on Friday and charged him with misuse of corporate assets.
Fillon suffered a major blow to his aspirations to win the April-May presidential election when the newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported in January that Penelope had received salaries worth hundreds of thousands of euros in 15 years for a parliamentary job that she did not really perform. Fillon insisted that the reports and the following investigation were politically motivated.
French presidential election candidate for the right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party Francois Fillon presents his project for Europe at his campaign headquarters in Paris on April 6, 2017. (AFP photo)
The former prime minister also failed to report to a transparency watchdog an interest-free loan of 50,000 euros which he took from Ladreit de Lacharriere.
Fillon, a major favorite until the publication of the reports about her British-born wife, lost the campaign to centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine le Pen with 20.01 percent of the votes in the first round of elections on April 23. Macron, who won the run-off on May 7, was inaugurated as France's youngest ever president on Sunday.

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