Western universities, singers red-faced over Libya links

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Universities and pop stars in the West are scrambling to explain their links to the Kadhafi regime and hastily giving away money they have received from the family.

As Moamer Kadhafi fights off a revolt, it is not just governments that have been forced to rethink their association with a regime whose money they were happy to accept after Tripoli was brought back into the international fold.

The director of the London School of Economics (LSE), Howard Davies, quit Thursday as the extent of his institution's links to the Kadhafis became clear.

Davies resigned over a deepening row involving a donation of £300,000 ($488,000, 350,000 euros) from Kadhafi's son, Seif Al-Islam, who completed his doctorate from LSE three years ago.

The school said it would hold an independent inquiry into why it had accepted the money, which it used to fund scholarships for north African students.

Davies's position became untenable after it emerged he had used his expertise as a former deputy governor of the Bank of England and ex-head of the British financial regulator to advise Libya on modernising its financial institutions.

He acknowledged that LSE had "suffered" as as result of taking the money and said he had no choice but to leave his post.

LSE is also investigating claims that Seif Al-Islam -- who until his bellicose language over the challenge to his father's rule was considered the most pro-Western of Kadhafi's sons -- had plagiarised chunks of his doctorate.

The tastes of the younger Kadhafis for Western pop music has also left big names embarrassed.

Canadian singer Nelly Furtado said Monday she would give away $1 million she received from the Libyan leader for a performance four years ago in Italy.

A spokeswoman for superstar Beyonce was quick to point out that the Grammy-winning singer had donated money she received for a New Year's Eve concert reportedly for Kadhafi's sons.

The fee for the concert in the Caribbean a year ago -- which reports said was also attended by Beyonce's rap mogul husband Jay-Z and troubled actress Lindsay Lohan -- was given to the Haiti earthquake relief fund.

"Once it became known that the third-party promoter was linked to the (Kadhafi) family, the decision was made to put that payment to a good cause," spokeswoman Yvette Noel-Schure said.

© 2011 AFP

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