Europe

French minister Bruno Le Roux hit by summer jobs revelations

Bruno Le Roux (file pic) Image copyright BENJAMIN CREMEL
Image caption There is widespread speculation about Bruno Le Roux's future as interior minister

France's interior minister, Bruno Le Roux, has become caught up in a "fake jobs" row, over holiday work he gave his daughters when they were teenagers.

The Socialist minister insists the summer jobs were legitimate but he has been summoned by the prime minister.

It is alleged that on some occasions the girls were involved in other activities when they were being paid.

Centre-right presidential candidate Francois Fillon is already under investigation for employing his family.

Initially the favourite to win the presidential election in April and May, Mr Fillon is now running third in the opinion polls.

Mr Le Roux's future as a minister appeared to rest with Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Thursday, amid reports that he had cancelled his engagements.

"When one is part of the state's authority one is faultless with regard to the institutions and their rules. Otherwise the authority of the state is let down," said Mr Cazeneuve.

The allegations against Mr Le Roux surfaced in the Quotidien TV programme on Monday night, when a reporter approached the minister asking about holiday jobs he had paid his two daughters for between 2009 and 2016.

"Of course I had my daughters working with me particularly during the summers or other school holidays, but never permanently," he told Quotidien.

His daughters began working for him when they were 15 or 16, and between them amassed 24 fixed-term contracts that paid out €55,000 ($60,000; £48,000)

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Francois Fillon (far left) took part in a debate with four other main candidates on Monday night

Employing family members is common practice in France's National Assembly and is lawful. However, the programme reported that two of the contracts coincided with an internship and a pre-study course.

One daughter held a three-month internship during the summer of 2013 at Belgian company Yves Le Rocher, Quotidien reported.

Mr Le Roux's office said all the jobs the girls were paid for were completed.

Some of the work, such as editing and research, was carried out while the internship was going on or on extra days, it added. "They did not necessarily require physical presence at the National Assembly."

Mr Le Roux said his situation was different from the Fillon affair. "We're talking about a summer job with an MP."

Francois Fillon's Republican party has called for an immediate investigation. One ex-minister said the party was waiting to see if the financial prosecutor would take on the case "as quickly as he did for Fillon".

Mr Fillon has denied allegations that he misused public funds when his wife, Penelope, was paid €831,400 ($900,000; £710,000) over a period of several years as his parliamentary assistant. Investigators are looking into whether she did the work she was paid for.

Mr Fillon's children were also paid to carry out legal work and there are claims they were not qualified at the time to do so.

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