French conservative presidential hopeful Francois Fillon Sunday acknowledged that an unnamed friend had made him a present of suits that media reports said cost 13,000 euros (13,890 dollars).
"A friend gave me some suits in February. So what?" Fillon said when asked about the allegations in an interview for economic newspaper Les Echos.
The right-wing candidate, who is facing interrogation on Wednesday by judges investigating allegations that he gave his wife a fake job paid from public funds as his parliamentary aide, said his private life was being scrutinized like that of no other candidate.
"My acts and movements are scrutinized every day with the evident intent of harming me and putting me out of the presidential race," he hit back.
Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche had alleged that one or more anonymous benefactors had bought him suits and other clothing worth 48,500 euros from the elite Arnys tailoring shop in Paris since 2012.
The interviewer from Les Echos, however, only queried the candidate about the two 6,500-euro suits he was allegedly given in February.
The claim is the latest in a series of allegations to dog Fillon's campaign, coming days after satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported that the candidate had failed to declare a 50,000-euro loan from a businessman friend.
Fillon's lawyer dismissed that report as a "fake revelation" and said his client had spontaneously declared the loan to investigators after forgetting to include it in his declaration of interests.
Fillon has sunk to third place in the polls, after far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, since the allegations about his wife's job surfaced in January.
Fillon has argued that he is the victim of a "political assassination" and has steadfastly refused to withdraw from the race.
Despite a flurry of resignations from his campaign after he announced earlier this month that he faced questioning, his Les Republicains party affirmed its support for him on Monday after former premier Alain Juppe, seen as the only viable alternative candidate, refused to run.
Asked by Les Echos if he expected to be charged at Wednesday's hearing, Fillon replied: "Considering how hurriedly these proceedings have been conducted, I have few illusions."