PARIS • Scandal-plagued French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon has been hit by a new revelation, this time over an interest-free, undeclared loan he received from a billionaire friend.
The conservative candidate "did not deem it necessary" to report the €50,000 (S$75,000) loan he received from Mr Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere in 2013 to a state transparency watchdog, Le Canard Enchaine weekly said in its Tuesday edition that appeared yesterday.
"The 'oversight' may be costly for the presidential candidate," said the investigative and satirical newspaper, which also made the allegations in January about the "fake jobs" scandal that has threatened to derail Mr Fillon's candidacy.
Le Canard Enchaine reported that Mr Fillon's lawyer Antonin Levy had confirmed that the loan had been repaid in full but did not say when.
Once the front runner to become France's next president in May, the 63-year-old Mr Fillon has had to battle to stay in the race because of the revelations that he had paid his wife Penelope hundreds of thousands of euros from public funds, allegedly for fake jobs.
The former prime minister is to be charged later this month.
Mr Ladreit de Lacharriere is the chief executive of Fimalac, a financial services holding company, and owns the literary magazine La Revue des Deux Mondes. The publication paid Mrs Penelope Fillon some €100,000 from 2012 to 2013 but there is little evidence of her work.
Investigators are looking into a possible link between this job and the bestowal of France's highest civilian honour, the Grand Croix of the Legion of Honour, on Mr Ladreit de Lacharriere in 2011, when Mr Fillon was prime minister.
Le Canard Enchaine also said investigators were looking into a consultancy firm called 2F Conseil.
Mr Fillon set it up in 2012 after he left office as prime minister and the paper said it had paid him hundreds of thousands of euros.
He has denied any wrongdoing with his consultancy work.