London School of Economics chief quits over Libya links

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The director of Britain's prestigious London School of Economics quit Thursday over the institution's links with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and his family.

Howard Davies acknowledged in a statement that the university's reputation had "suffered" and that he had to leave his post.

Davies admitted the decision to accept £300,000 ($488,000, 350,000 euros) in funding from Kadhafi's son, Seif Al-Islam, was wrong and that his trip to Libya to help modernise the regime's financial institutions was ill-advised.

The institution Tuesday agreed to put the money it had received into a scholarship for north African students.

"I have concluded that it would be right for me to step down even though I know that this will cause difficulty for the institution I have come to love," said Davies.

"The short point is that I am responsible for the school's reputation, and that has suffered."

Davies, who will remain in his post until a successor has been found, is a former boss of the Financial Services Authority and deputy governor of the Bank of England.

"I made a personal error of judgment in accepting the British government's invitation to be an economic envoy and the consequent Libyan invitation to advise their sovereign wealth fund," Davies added.

Seif Al-Islam graduated from the university with a masters in philosophy, policy and social value in 2003 and a doctorate in philosophy in 2008.

However, the school confirmed it was looking into claims that he had plagiarised sections of his doctoral thesis.

Additionally, the university's council has set up an independent inquiry into the university's relationship with the Libyan regime.

© 2011 AFP

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