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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

World

Carla Bruni’s website costs Rs. 320 million: audit
Noopur Tiwari, Hindustan Times
Paris, July 25, 2013
First Published: 01:08 IST(25/7/2013)
Last Updated: 01:16 IST(25/7/2013)

French taxpayers are not happy with former first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. A latest audit report says that a staggering Euros 410,000 (Rs 32 million approx) were spent in 2011-12 on a website of a foundation run by the former first lady.

The revelation made by news website Politique.net, comes just weeks after a workers’ union at Air France cried foul because they said Bruni was abusing the privileges the French state grants to family members of former presidents. Bruni, they claim, took a free Paris-NewYork ride that would have cost nearly 11,000 Euros, first class seat and airport taxes, all paid by France’s flag carrier making job cuts to cover losses.

Bruni’s foundation website is a “cyber-catastrophe” according to news website Rue89. An analysis on the site, by hacker-blogger and internet expert Bluetouf says Bruni’s website was running on a simple open source blogging tool, Wordpress. The application had not even been upgraded since 2010 and its customization could not have cost more than 4,000 Euros, he adds.

Why then were the bills were so bloated? Questions are now being raised about the pricey state privileges that include free air and train travel in the topmost class for families of former presidents. Unlike in the US, French laws do not recognise “first lady” as an official status.


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