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French Interior Minister Le Roux resigns amid probe into parliament jobs

Bruno Le Roux has resigned amid a probe into payments given to his daughters during their summer vacations. The news comes as a similar investigation into presidential candidate Francois Fillon is being expanded.

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French Interior Minister quits

Le Roux stepped down amid mounting pressure on Tuesday as investigators launched a probe into temporary parliamentary jobs first given to his two daughters when they were teenagers.

The 51-year-old politician's daughters earned a total of 55,000 euros ($59,500) while serving as parliamentary assistants.

Le Roux, a member of the Socialist Party, has denied any wrongdoing, but said he didn't want the investigation to "undermine the work of the government," AFP reported.

His decision came the same day the French financial prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation following a television report on the hirings that aired on Monday night.

Calls for Le Roux to quit

It is not illegal for a French politician to hire his family members. Instead, the controversy stems from allegations in the report that the daughters did not actually perform the duties they were paid to carry out.

The latest scandal mirrors a similar one that has plagued conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, who has been accused of giving fake jobs to his wife Penelope and other family members.

Le Roux's decision came after several high-profile French officials called on him to quit. Benoit Hamon, the Socialist Party's presidential candidate, urged him to step down in order to "lift suspicion."

The Elysee presidential office said Matthias Fekl had already been appointed to replace Le Roux.

Fillon probe expanded

Also on Tuesday, investigators said they were expanding the probe into Fillon to include new allegations of fraud, forgery and the use of forgeries.

According to Le Monde newspaper, authorities suspect Fillon and his wife forged documents after news of their jobs scandal first broke in order to prove that Penelope did indeed do the jobs she was paid for.

Fillon's wife earned around 700,000 euros ($757,000) for a suspected fake job as a parliamentary assistant. 

blc/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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