Europe

Fillon says he would withdraw French candidacy if charged

  • 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 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 candidate Francois Fillon says he would step out of the race if he were given preliminary charges by national financial prosecutors investigating an allegedly fake job held by his wife.

Fillon, speaking on French channel TF1 on Thursday night, said there was nothing improper or illegal about his employing his wife, Penelope, as his parliamentary aide for years.

He says "her work was real" and that he would give explanations to investigators.

Fillon said: "Only one thing would prevent me from being a candidate: it's if my honor was harmed, if I were given preliminary charges."

Prosecutors opened a probe into suspected embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds after it was reported that Fillon's wife was paid about 500,000 euros ($537,000) for a job she allegedly didn't do.