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UK university chief quits over Libya links

By the CNN Wire Staff
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LSE head quits over Libya links
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Director of London School of Economics resigns over Libyan links
  • Director: "I am responsible for the school's reputation, and that has suffered"
  • Gadhafi charity board member quits
  • Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Nelly Furtado singing a different turn

London (CNN) -- An academic, entertainers and a member of the board of a Libyan charity are among the high-profile beneficiaries of Libyan hospitality who have distanced themselves from the oil-rich government and its leaders in recent days.

The director of the London School of Economics and Political Science resigned Thursday over links to Libya and the school said it has commissioned an independent, external inquiry into the school's relationship with the country.

"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," Howard Davies said in a statement released by the school, which noted that he had served in the position for eight years. "The short point is that I am responsible for the school's reputation, and that has suffered."

Davies said he had advised the school's council that it was reasonable to accept money from sources associated with Libya "and that has turned out to be a mistake."

He added that he had made "a personal error of judgment" to advise Libya's sovereign wealth fund.

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  • Libya

"There was nothing substantive to be ashamed of in that work and I disclosed it fully, but the consequence has been to make it more difficult for me to defend the institution."

Davies will remain as director until a successor is found.

Among other matters, the council will investigate:

-- An agreement to accept a £1.5 million ($2.4 million) donation from the Gadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF) in 2009 to LSE Global Governance. But the statement did not say what would be done with the £300,000 ($488,000) already received.

-- The agreement of a £2.2 million ($3.6 million) contract between LSE Enterprise and Libya's Economic Development Board to train Libyan civil servants and professionals. Of that, £1.5 million ($2.4 million) has been received.

Also renouncing her past Libyan link Thursday was Mariah Carey, who performed a few years ago at parties thrown by the sons of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for," the singer said in a statement. "I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess. Going forward, this is a lesson for all artists to learn from. We need to be more aware and take more responsibility regardless of who books our shows. Ultimately we as artists are to be held accountable."

Her statement came a day after a publicist for Beyonce, who performed at a private party that include the Gadhafi family at Nikki Beach St. Bart's on New Year's Eve 2009, said the singer was donating her payment to earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti.

Singer Nelly Furtado has made similar comments.

Also joining the exodus is Benjamin R. Barber, who resigned his membership on the governing board of the Gadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation.

"I deplore the savage violence being unleashed on protesters in Libya," the political theorist said in a statement on his website. Though the board members passed a motion at their December meeting that made former chairman Saif Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader, an honorary chairman, that is no longer enough, he said.

"The position of the foundation has now been made untenable by the country-wide repression of protesters by the most barbaric means, and the public declaration of the foundation's honorary chairman, Saif Gadhafi, endorsing the repression and rationalizing the massacre of protesters," Barber said.

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