Le Roux is the latest French politician to face questions over jobs for family members
Prosecutor is looking into allegations he improperly hired his daughters
French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux has resigned amid allegations that he improperly hired his teenage daughters as aides.
Le Roux – the latest French politician to be beset by a controversy over jobs given to family members – is being investigated by the National Financial Prosecutor. At a news conference Tuesday, Le Roux said the jobs his daughters performed complied with the judicial rules of the National Assembly.
The prosecutor’s office has said it opened the investigation after media reports that Le Roux employed his two daughters between 2009 and 2016, allegedly paying them a total of 55,000 euros, or more than $59,400. “These were real jobs,” Le Roux told reporters, adding that he was stepping down so that the issue doesn’t affect the government’s work.
“These jobs were formative, for them and for myself,” he said. “With the kind of responsibilities I have to handle, it is difficult to see my relatives.”
Presidential candidate Fillon hit by scandal
The French president’s office said in a statement that Trade Minister Matthias Fekl Matthias had been appointed to replace Le Roux.
François Fillon, a candidate in next month’s presidential election, has been heavily criticized for failing to quit the race since becoming embroiled in a parliamentary scandal over claims that he paid his wife and children for work they did not do.
Fillon’s scandal-hit campaign took another blow last week when he was placed under formal investigation on multiple counts, including embezzlement of public funds.
Fillon’s problems began when French newspaper Le Canard Enchainé published reports that his wife and and two of his adult children earned nearly 1 million euros ($1.08 million) as parliamentary assistants but didn’t show up for work.
Far-right leader summoned by judge
Fillon has rejected the claims, saying his wife worked for 15 years as his “deputy” and carried out several roles, including managing his schedule and representing him at cultural events. He also said his daughter and son were employed in similar positions for 15 months and six months respectively, which he said is not illegal, but was an “error of judgment.”
Meanwhile far-right leader Marine Le Pen was summoned by a judge earlier this month amid allegations of misusing European Union funds, her lawyer told CNN.
Le Pen’s bid for the French presidency became embroiled in controversy after several members of her staff were accused by officials of being paid for nonexistent jobs at the European Parliament.
French voters go to the polls on April 23 but if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff election on May 7.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez reported and wrote from New York.