Europe

Kremlin dismisses new claims against French candidate Fillon

  • Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon gestures as he speaks during a meeting in Courbevoie, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The first French presidential ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates go into a runoff on May 7. Placard reads, "a will for France". (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon gestures as he speaks during a meeting in Courbevoie, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The first French presidential ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates go into a runoff on May 7. Placard reads, "a will for France". (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in his working cabinet waiting for a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    In this photo taken on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in his working cabinet waiting for a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Supporters of conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon hold placards and wave French flags during a meeting in Courbevoie, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The first French presidential ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates go into a runoff on May 7. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Supporters of conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon hold placards and wave French flags during a meeting in Courbevoie, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The first French presidential ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates go into a runoff on May 7. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

The Kremlin is dismissing a report that French presidential candidate Francois Fillon was paid 50,000 euros ($54,000) to arrange a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and a Lebanese magnate.

The report in investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaine says his consulting company arranged the meeting between Putin and Lebanese oil magnate Fouad Makhzoumi at an economic forum in 2015.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov compared the report to "fake news." He said Wednesday: "The president's meetings are organized according to protocol" and the Kremlin "doesn't need any intermediaries."

Fillon is also the target of a newly enlarged investigation into allegations that he gave his family government-funded jobs which they never did. He denies wrongdoing, but the accusations have damaged his campaign for the April-May election.