French conservative Francois Fillon said Saturday that he would press ahead with his presidential bid even if investigators charged him over claims his wife had a fake parliamentary job.
“The closer we get to the presidential election, the more outrageous it would be to deprive the right and the center of a candidate,” Fillon told French daily Le Figaro in an interview.
Fillon, 62, had earlier pledged to drop out of the race if charged in the inquiry, now in its third week.
He reiterated his claim that a smear campaign was being orchestrated against him, without naming who might be behind it.
“I don’t know, but I see who is profiting from it… A left that is in an inextricable situation with a discredited president, a fractured majority, and an illusionist for a candidate,” he said.
“The only obstacle in their efforts to stay alive is me.”