Europe

French candidate Fillon says justice is 'instrumentalized'

French presidential candidate Francois Fillon, facing charges in an investigation of taxpayer-funded jobs his wife and children received but allegedly never performed, says the justice system is being manipulated to affect the election.

In an interview Wednesday with Radio Classique, Fillon said he believed the goal was to ensure "that the right and the center have no candidate. That way it will be simpler: It will be a debate between the left and Madame (Marine) Le Pen."

A top contender in a French presidential election never has reached such a critical step in a criminal investigation, yet Fillon has vowed to keep campaigning less than six weeks before the first-round vote.