Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fillon Scandal?

Today there is a new wrinkle in the campaign: a possible Fillon scandal. His wife was paid over 500,000 euros as his "parliamentary assistant," although other members of his staff say they never saw her, and she was also paid a salary by La Revue des Deux Mondes, where none of the staff ever met her. The latter publication is owned by an industrialist friend of Fillon's and paid her 5,000 euros a month.


Anonymous said...

Between that scandal and the clowns currently heading the PS who made a mockery of the voting process, I can predict two winners, MLP and Macron.

Vintage Maison said...

Well, that's a shame. I do know of several British ex-pats who were hoping if Fillon got in, the Brexit fall-out for Brits in EU might be diluted. No chance!

Bernard said...

There's the October surprise in the us and there is the January surprise in France. if in doubt, take a look again at Balladur's January surprise in 1995...

Anonymous said...

Do you think it'll have an effect upon the rce?*
I saw something on TV, even in Sablé people looked shocked, surprised/disappointed,...
And the UMP's defense of "since when do judges act so quickly", doesn't help them. not sure who devised that talking point...

Rédaction Contreligne said...

This says à lot about the style and lifestyle of our political élites, who are keen to get the same standard of living as the "bourgeoisie d'affaires", especially on the Right (but not only on the Right). Hence these no show jobs, these service fees for nothing. My gess : Fillon might well decide to withdraw (and morally ought to withdraw) ; and more likely than ever : a Le Pen / Macron in May. St. A.

Rédaction Contreligne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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bernard said...

PART 1 On day 3 of this latest scandal, the conclusion is inescapable: Fillon is almost surely toast, and this does not depend upon whether there is actually a case or not.

Fillon was overwhelmingly selected by a hugely successful primary election of the right, running on a very conservative platform, and characterizing himself as a man of high integrity. Honest Fillon did not hesitate to destroy one of his rivals with the quip: could anyone ever imagine De Gaulle - the demi-god of conservatives for all times - indicted. Sarkozy was thus destroyed.

Today a different quip is widely making the rounds, and not just among left-leaning French: could anyone imagine Tante Yvonne - this was the semi-affectionate, semi-ridiculous nickname for De Gaulle's wife - being employed as a wage-earner by her husband. This says to Fillon: you're no De Gaulle and you're not that virtuous either and it is brutally damaging. In the wake of these news, Fillon's popularity - and, conversely, his negatives - is collapsing.

Neither will he be able to put this, whatever the reality of the accusation, behind himself anytime before the election takes place.

Right now, a financial police investigation has been started. A number of witnesses are scheduled to be interviewed. Fillon's lawyer met with the investigators and may have communicated to them some documents (were the latter to be conclusive, they would surely have been made public to quell public suspicion). It is thus obvious that this police investigation will be running for some time. Following a police investigation, the normal procedure if anything untoward is thought to have taken place would be for an investigative judge to be assigned the case. However, in France, this type of affair, involving high level political personnel, is part of what are called "affaires réservées" and the decision would have to be made directly by the Minister of Justice, and it is impossible for the Minister of Justice to act on a case involving an opposition candidate in front a presidential election. Thus the affair cannot be resolved prior to the election, one way or another. The suspicion will remain in the public eye.

In fact, this state of affairs is already so damaging that almost every conservative newspaper is carrying articles along the line of "if not Fillon running, who then and how would he/she be nominated". This of course is ridiculous speculation. Fillon cannot abandon his run because to do so would be strictly equivalent to an admission of guilt in the public eye, and he would be gone from politics - his only ever profession - forever.

Fillon is therefore damned if he does and he is damned if he doesn't. That was the January surprise.

bernard said...

PART 2 Obviously, Fillon is screaming "stinking bombs". He could be right or he could be wrong.

The satirical newspaper "le Canard Enchainé" which launched the affair may have done it on its own. This newspaper which is over a century old has terrified all politicians throughout its existence and it is quite possible that it decided to thoroughly vet Honest Fillon on its own. That, at least, is what the newspaper's editor is saying right now.

If Fillon is right and this was a stinking bomb tipped to the newspaper, the issue is not just "cui bono". Cui bono is obvious: Macron and Le Pen. It almost surely is not Le Pen: the Front National has its own long litany of issues in the same vein, from parliamentary assistants remunerated by the European Parliament who were simply working for the party nationally (350,000 Euros of salaries were ordered to be reimbursed just a few days ago, and further allowance for parliamentary assistants was reduced), to presidential candidate Le Pen employing her companion as a parliamentary assistant. The Front National would not have wanted to put the spotlight on this sort of issue, clearly.

"Crimes" are also sometimes committed out of revenge. Fillon's remarkable run in the primary of the right left a number of prominent corpses along the road including the other two prominent candidates. One of them was always well known for his bad temper, brutality and long memory. Having been forcibly retired from national politics, he may have little to lose.

If this was indeed a tip to the newspaper, experience shows that we will only know in many years, basically once all protagonists have retired. It took decades to emerge that the affair which sunk Giscard d'Estaing's bid for reelection in 1981 was indeed a carefully targeted tipoff. Mouths have a way of remaining closed in France.

This was not a Scud attack - they are notoriously imprecise - this was a successful drone attack. Target destroyed.

Anonymous said...

NO matter what Fillon can't campaign on integrity anymore:
EITHER he used the name of his wife to steal public money and launder donations to his coffers (if it truly was a "fictional job" ie., someone's name on a paper to explain why money is given and received... "money laundering" in other words)
Pénélope Fillon truly occupied a job where she earned considerable money, *none of which was declared* since she's always been presented as a homemaker, filed taxes as "stay at home mom" with no income, etc., and it's fraud.

Regardless, money laundering or tax fraud, there's no way out for Fillon.

So, Macron (from the ministère he could have had the means of getthing this information) or Sarkozy? Those are the two I can think of.

It wouldn't surprise me if Macron, having functioned in the backstabbing shark system of IB finance, would have acted unlike typical socialists, and rather than coming with a knife to a gun fight, prepared a sniper.
Sarkzoy is of course another possible culprit.

I doubt Jadot, Mélenchon, or Hamon scare anyone, so will the next sniper hit the Le Pen constellation?

Alexandra Marshall said...

@bernard i am loving your house of cards take on all this. this is a fantastic political scandal and it couldn't be more french in its flavor nor have happened to a nicer POS.