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Monday, April 21 12:00 AM ET

Gates Foundation May Face Antitrust Investigation

By Brian Briggs

Seattle, WA – The organizations have changed, but the accusations remain the same. Bill Gates faced antitrust investigations in the US and abroad as CEO of Microsoft, and now the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may be coming under scrutiny for monopolistic charity practices.

Donations are down at charities like the United Way, Red Cross and Catholic Charities of America, and the organizations are finding the outlets for charitable giving have narrowed.

Red Cross Chairman Greg Coburn points to the exclusive deals the Gates Foundation has signed with many African nations as his biggest complaint. “These deals make the Gates Foundation the 'sole charity provider' and lock out our organizations from giving. That leads to donations drying up for us,” said Coburn.

In countries where they don't have an exclusive arrangements reports show that the Gates Foundation has been giving away its charity for free. “They just swoop in and give it away for free,” said Coburn. “It's very hard for us to compete with that.”

Bill Gates said that his organization wasn't involved in anti-competitive practices, and that accusations that medicines given away by his Foundation won't work with other competing medicines are “baseless.”

“We're only trying to help people in the best way that we know,” said Bill Gates. “This isn't a competition, even though we're winning.”

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Another concern for charities was the exclusive contract Bono signed with the Gates Foundation. “If we can't have access to Bono, how can we be effective in our giving,” said the Pope.

The US Justice Department has refused to look into the Gates Foundation practices, saying that it doesn't investigate charities, but the European Union has levied a preemptive fine of $300 million before launching their investigation.

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