French investigators on Tuesday conducted a search of the country’s parliament to probe allegations that presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Francois Fillon paid his wife Penelope half a million euros to “do nothing” in a fictitious job role, Reuters reported. While they have not denied the payments, the couple has maintained that Penelope worked for the salary in her capacity as Fillon and his successor’s parliamentary aide. He has offered to step down from the presidential race if a formal probe into the matter is launched.

On Monday, the couple was questioned about the claims. The country’s national prosecutor had launched an initial probe into the matter after French weekly La Canard published a report with allegations about the ‘fake pay scam’, The Telegraph reported. The publication alleged that the payments were made between 1998 and 2013.

Allegations against the presidential candidate’s wife also include claims that she was unfairly paid €100,000 by a magazine, owned by a family friend, for writing two articles.

In November 2016, Fillion had won the Republicans party’s nomination for the 2017 presidential elections in the country. The centre-right candidate, who had promised to cut at least 500,000 public sector jobs if voted to power, had also called on the European Union to lift its sanctions on Russia.

The April-May 2017 elections will be seen as a test of mainstream political candidates in the West following Donald Trump’s victory in the United States presidential elections.