Former French Prime Minister François Fillon was sentenced to four years in prison, including one without parole, by the Paris Court of Appeal on Monday.

His wife Penelope was given a two-year suspended sentence.

The background is the years of "fictitious employment" of his wife as a parliamentary employee.

According to the judges, proof of work for their activities could not be provided.

Fillon was found guilty by the Court of Appeal of embezzlement of public funds, but the sentence was reduced.

Both spouses have to pay a fine of 375,000 euros each.

In addition, Fillon is not allowed to exercise a political mandate for ten years.

Fillon has retired from public life

Michael Wiegel

Political correspondent based in Paris.

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Fillon's successor as MP, Marc Joulaud, was given a three-year suspended sentence.

He had continued to employ Penelope Fillon as a parliamentary assistant in the National Assembly at Fillon's request.

Fillon and his wife stayed away from the verdict in Paris.

The suspicion of bogus employment weighed on Fillon's 2017 presidential campaign.

He did not qualify for the crucial runoff at the time, but achieved a much better result for the civil rights with 20 percent of the vote than subsequent presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse in April with 4.75 percent of the vote.

Since his political defeat, Fillon has withdrawn from public life.

In the first instance, he was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2020, three of which were suspended.

Fillon and his wife had always denied the allegations in court.

You still have the opportunity to go to the Court of Cassation.

Fillon will probably not have to go to a detention center.

Wearing an electronic tag is common in France for sentences of up to one year.

Fillon, 68, recently resigned from the board of directors of Russian oil and energy company Zarubezhneft and petrochemical group Sibur, effective immediately, due to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.

In France, the Sarkozy era is commonly associated with corruption and judicial affairs.

Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has also been repeatedly convicted, but the appeals process is still pending.