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Carla in scandal over Aids cash

A leading political magazine has caused a storm by accusations of wrongdoing against the First Lady

THE First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is at the centre of a scandal over alleged improper uses of funds for fighting Aids.

The magazine Marianne has caused a storm with articles online and in its paper edition in which it claims to reveal “dysfunction and conflicts of interest” over her activities as an “ambassador” in the fight against Aids.

Notably the magazine claimed that due to her influence, $3.5 million was paid by a major international charity, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, “on the margins of legality and with no putting out to tender, to several firms owned by her friends”.

The money is said to have been paid in the context of work publicising the Global Fund’s Born HIV Campaign, aimed at protecting mothers and their babies from Aids.

The magazine also claimed that President Sarkozy sacked the French ambassador to the Global Fund, Patrice Debré after details of this scandal were revealed at a recent committee meeting of the Global Fund.

Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing and the Global Fund has called the claims “inaccurate and misleading”. Among other matters, the Born HIV Free campaign costs $2.8 million; much less than the sums quoted by Marianne, it said.

Furthermore the campaign’s use of funds had been subject to checks by external auditors who found “all the rules were respected and the money was used with great efficiency”, said the Global Fund.

Photo: Remi Jouan

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