Europe

French candidate Fillon: Govt manipulating presidential race

  • FILE - In this Friday, March 31, 2017 file picture, French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives for a speech on defense policy in Paris, France. Francois Fillon denounced a manipulation from the Socialist government to eliminate him from the presidential race. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, March 31, 2017 file picture, French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives for a speech on defense policy in Paris, France. Francois Fillon denounced a manipulation from the Socialist government to eliminate him from the presidential race. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, March, 31, 2017 file picture, French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon attends a campaign meeting in Toulon, southern France. Francois Fillon denounced a manipulation from the Socialist government to eliminate him from the presidential race. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, March, 31, 2017 file picture, French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon attends a campaign meeting in Toulon, southern France. Francois Fillon denounced a manipulation from the Socialist government to eliminate him from the presidential race. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)  (The Associated Press)

French conservative candidate Francois Fillon is denouncing what he calls the Socialist government's "manipulations" that he says are designed to eliminate him from the presidential race.

The conservative leader and his wife are both facing charges in a probe over well-paid parliamentary jobs that investigators suspect she never performed. Fillon claims the charges are politically motivated.

Fillon told BFM television on Monday "if I had any doubt about my guilt, I wouldn't be a candidate."

Fillon said he made a mistake when he initially said he would withdraw if charged and suggested the government built up the case against him from nothing. He says "I provided a means to eliminate me from the presidential race."

The scandal has deeply damaged the Fillon's chances in the two-round April 23-May 7 vote.