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AIDS group rejects allegations against France's Bruni


Reuters NewMedia - January 6, 2012

PARIS (Reuters) - The Global Fund, a wealthy medical charity, on Friday dismissed as "inexact and misleading" a magazine report of alleged financial misconduct implicating French first lady Carla Bruni, who is one of its ambassadors.

The Geneva-based fund issued the statement after the French magazine Marianne said in an article the fund had awarded $3.5 million of contracts to companies controlled by a musician friend of Bruni, the wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy, at her request.

The multi-billion-dollar fund, set up 10 years ago to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, issued the money without a public tender, Marianne said.

"The article makes several allegations that are groundless regarding a campaign that the Fund launched in 2010 with the backing of Mme Bruni-Sarkozy," its statement said.

Sarkozy's office declined to comment, saying it had nothing to add to the statement from the Global Fund.

The focus of the story is an AIDS awareness campaign called Born HIV Free which the fund said cost a total of $2.8 million and which allowed it to leverage further support worth $20.4 million in the form of free advertising and creative work by media partners.

A Global Fund official said Bruni had asked a friend, Julien Civange, to represent her and develop a concept of how entertainment could be used to publicise the AIDS fight.

Based on Civange's idea, the Fund agreed to pay him and four employees 580,000 euros over 18 months to develop a campaign, in accordance with the fund's rules which allow non-competitive contracting when an individual has a proprietary idea.

"As part of this process, Mr Civange brought in pro-bono contributions worth $20.4 million through free media placements, advertising and creative work," said the official.

Bruni, a singer and former supermodel who married Sarkozy in early 2008, was appointed "first ambassador" in the same year of the Global Fund. Her husband was elected in 2007 and is widely expected to run for a second term in an election less than four months from now.

The Global Fund, a public-private partnership, was set up in 2002 and says it has saved 7.7 million lives with funding for AIDS treatment and programmes worldwide to fight malaria and tuberculosis.

(Reporting By Brian Love and Patrick Vignal; Editing by Jon Boyle)


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Information in this article was accurate in January 6, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.