Mr Schaeuble is a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) party, which has close ties to Mr Fillon’s centre-right Les Republicains party.
Speaking during a debate organised by the German weekly Der Spiegel, Mr Schaeuble said: “Don’t put me on the spot, you know which political family I belong to… But if I could vote in the French presidential election, I would probably vote for Mr Macron.”
Mr Schaeuble said Mr Fillon’s handling of Penelopegate had disqualified him from becoming president.
German finance minister Mr Schaeuble backs French presidential candidate Macron over Fillon
If I could vote in the French presidential election, I would probably vote for Mr Macron
He said: “It’s not so much the corruption scandal he has found himself embroiled in, but his dismissive response to the fraud allegations and his attack on the judiciary…None of it is very encouraging.”
Mr Fillon recently accused the outgoing Socialist government of staging an “institutional coup d’état” against him and of manipulating the judicial system after the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné claimed in January he had paid his wife close to one million euros in taxpayers’ money for a non-existent job as his parliamentary assistant.
Mr Macron is widely expected to win the presidency with more than 50 per cent of the vote
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Support for the former presidential favourite plummeted in the wake of the allegations, and Mr Fillon now faces the prospect of being knocked out in the first round of voting on April 23.
The German conservative added that, at this stage of the presidential race, a Macron victory was the “most likely” outcome.
Mr Macron is widely expected to win the presidency with more than 50 per cent of the vote in the election’s final round runoff on May 7.