Francois Fillon was sentenced to five years in prison, three of which were suspended, and slapped with a $423,000 fine but remains free pending appeal.
The similarities between the speeches drew online accusations of plagiarism, but aides of French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen brushed off the criticism.
As the French head to the polls to choose their new president, here's a quick overview of the five most popular candidates.
Over 60,000 polling stations closed at 18:00 GMT on Sunday for 47 million eligible voters who chose between 11 candidates in the most unpredictable election in generations under tight security.
Voting already began on Saturday for French overseas territories and French residents in the United States and Canada, a day before the main first round of presidential elections in France.
From charismatic candidates on the far-left and far-right, to those plagued either by links to unpopular big parties and even corruption allegations, France's presidential hopefuls are an interesting bunch.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron is set to top first round and is ahead of far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Meanwhile, two Frenchmen were arrested in Marseilles for planning an attack before the election.
The four top candidates courted undecided voters as campaigning for France's most unpredictable presidential election entered its final week.
Since the corruption scandal against him came to light at the end of January, Fillon has been regularly greeted at campaign stops with banging pots and other gestures of disdain.
A snap survey shows left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon as winning the debate, while the pre-election polls' favourite Emmanuel Macron came second.
In the latest scandal to hit Francois Fillon's presidential candidacy, his wife has been charged for allegedly misusing public funds.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen's proposal to pull France out of the euro and her hardline stance on Islam came under attack from her fellow presidential hopefuls in a combative TV debate.
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