News / Europe

Britain Investigates Gadhafi Link to London University

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi (file photo)
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +

An independent investigation has been launched in Britain into a top university's links with Libya after the university's director resigned over the controversy.

Britain’s London School of Economics had been put under the spotlight because of its ties to Gadhafi and his family.

Under investigation

The university accepted a research grant worth more than $2 million from a foundation run by Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi.

On Thursday, the university’s director resigned, the first high-profile Briton to lose his job in connection with British business links with Libya.  Sir Howard Davies told the BBC that he had to take responsibility for the damage done to the university’s reputation.

"I think the school will recover, it's a fine institution, which I have become very fond of," said Davies. "But I think it will recover more quickly if I accept responsibility for two errors of judgment."

Those two errors, he said, were advising the London School of Economics to accept the Ghadafi donation and to act himself as an unpaid economic envoy to Libya.

But he said the university's academic independence has not been infringed.

Rodney Wilson, an international relations expert at Britain’s Durham University, says accepting such a grant was a precarious undertaking.

"Quite a lot of this was basically to support research and conferences and workshops, which are supposed to be independent and unbiased," said Wilson. "Well, obviously if you're getting funding from Libya, that kind of undermines the academic integrity of such gatherings and research."

Alleged plagiarism

Now an investigation is to be launched into whether the London School of Economics' academic independence was breached.

Also investigated will be the doctoral degree of Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi.  There have been reports that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who had been a student at the London School of Economics, plagiarized his 2008 thesis.

Wilson says Saif al-Islam Gadhafi has for a long time played a key, though unofficial, role in financial relations between Libya and Britain.

"He was at the London School of Economics, he has always been a fairly frequent visitor to London," Wilson said. "And although he doesn't directly control the Libyan sovereign wealth fund, nevertheless obviously getting him on side was very important to any investments and deals that they have been involved in."

Past accusations

Libyan leader Gadhafi, once called the "mad dog of the Middle East" by a U.S. president [the late Ronald Reagan], was tied to terror attacks in Europe and accused of supplying the Irish Republican Army with weapons.

But in 2003 Gadhafi renounced terror, and Britain has worked hard to build business links with his country, the world’s 12th largest oil exporter.  

In 2007, the British oil giant BP signed a deal with Libya worth at least $900 million.

"It was believed that by basically pursuing better relations with Gadhafi and his regime that this might wean them away from this sort of activity, and the evidence is that it has," Wilson explained.

Ghadafi spoke at the London School of Economics as recently as last December.  The university has produced 16 Nobel Prize winners.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid