August 22, 2017 / 7:10 PM / a year ago

Former French presidential candidate joins investment fund Tikehau

FILE PHOTO: Francois Fillon, former French prime minister, member of the Republicans political party and 2017 French presidential election candidate of the French centre right, attends a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Paris, France April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Former French prime minister Francois Fillon, whose bid for the presidency this year was derailed by scandal, will join French investment firm Tikehau Capital as a partner, the company said on Tuesday.

An early favorite to win the presidency, the conservative saw his lead in the polls evaporate after he was hit by allegations of paying his wife and children public funds for work they had not properly carried out.

The allegations, which he denied, dented the wholesome image he had cultivated and knocked his credibility as he was proposing deep cuts in public sector jobs and spending.

Ignoring calls from some allies to stand down, Fillon crashed out of the election in a first round of the presidential vote, which centrist Emmanuel Macron went on to win against far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a May 7 runoff.

Fillon, who remains under investigation over the allegations, will join Tikehau on Sept. 1, bringing the number of partners to 30, the firm said in a statement.

“With international expansion being one of the company’s strategic priorities, his international experience combined with his in-depth knowledge of French and European economic issues will bring real added value,” the statement said.

Tikehau, which aims to double its assets under management by 2020, raised 702 million euros in fresh capital last month through a rights issue, which it said at the time would help pursue “organic and external” growth opportunities in a consolidating sector.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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