Europe

French candidate Fillon faces questions over wife's work

  • FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 file picture, Francois Fillon, a candidate in Sunday's primary runoff to select a conservative candidate for the French presidential election, sits with his wife Penelope, left, during a rally in Paris, France. French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon's so far smooth campaign has hit its first hurdle after claims that his wife was paid about half a million euro with parliamentary funds emerged. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 file picture, Francois Fillon, a candidate in Sunday's primary runoff to select a conservative candidate for the French presidential election, sits with his wife Penelope, left, during a rally in Paris, France. French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon's so far smooth campaign has hit its first hurdle after claims that his wife was paid about half a million euro with parliamentary funds emerged. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 file picture, Penelope Fillon, wife of Francois Fillon, a candidate in Sunday's primary runoff to select a conservative candidate for the French presidential election, applauds during a campaign rally in Paris, France. French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon's so far smooth campaign has hit its first hurdle after claims that his wife was paid about half a million euro with parliamentary funds emerged. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 file picture, Penelope Fillon, wife of Francois Fillon, a candidate in Sunday's primary runoff to select a conservative candidate for the French presidential election, applauds during a campaign rally in Paris, France. French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon's so far smooth campaign has hit its first hurdle after claims that his wife was paid about half a million euro with parliamentary funds emerged. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009 file picture, France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope attend a canonization ceremony led by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon's so far smooth campaign has hit its first hurdle after claims that his wife was paid about half a million euro with parliamentary funds emerged. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009 file picture, France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope attend a canonization ceremony led by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon's so far smooth campaign has hit its first hurdle after claims that his wife was paid about half a million euro with parliamentary funds emerged. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)  (The Associated Press)

French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon's so far smooth campaign has hit its first hurdle after claims emerged that his wife was paid about 500,000 euros (more than $535,000) with parliamentary funds.

Le Canard Enchaine newspaper reported Wednesday that Penelope Fillon earned the money over eight years as a parliamentary aide to her husband during his tenure as a lawmaker.

It's not illegal for French legislators to hire their relatives as long as they are genuinely employed.

Fillon's spokesman Philippe Vigier denied any wrongdoing, insisting that Penelope Fillon's work wasn't fictional.

Fillon, a former prime minister, has been designated as the conservative presidential nominee. Opinion polls suggest that he and far-right leader Marine Le Pen will advance to the second round of the election later this year.