Fillon says he would withdraw French candidacy if charged

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.