French newspaper: Fillon also paid his wife severance

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A French newspaper says presidential candidate Francois Fillon not only employed his wife for an allegedly fake job, but also twice gave her severance pay.

Le Canard Enchaine weekly reports in its Wednesday issue that Fillon paid his wife, Penelope Fillon, a total of 45,000 euros ($48,000) in severance pay from public funds after she stopped working as his parliamentary aide in 2002 and 2013.

The conservative candidate said in a statement that the paper's latest reports are "lies" and that "only a will to harm can explain this false presentation."

The weekly says that Penelope Fillon first was given severance pay after her husband entered the French government. The paper says she already had a new aide job, arranged at Fillon's request, working for the lawmaker who replaced him.