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British Defense Chief Quits

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox (file photo)
British Defense Secretary Liam Fox (file photo)

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox has resigned amid growing questions about his links to a friend who posed as a government advisor while traveling overseas with him on official trips.

Fox apologized to Prime Minister David Cameron in a resignation letter Friday, saying that he mistakenly allowed his personal interests and government activities to "become blurred."

The defense chief quit days ahead of the expected release of a government inquiry into his friendship with Adam Werritty, a onetime apartment roommate of Fox's and the best man at his 2005 wedding.

Fox told parliament earlier this week that Werritty went on the trips abroad with him despite having no official role. British news accounts have reported Werritty handed out business cards calling himself an advisor to the defense minister.

The media reports said that foreign interests, possibly seeking to promote a more hardline British foreign policy or gain favor for defense contracts, had funneled $231,000 into an account set up by Werritty to pay for his travel expenses.

Mr. Cameron said he was sorry to see Fox leave, praising him for his efforts in overseeing British military campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya. The British leader has appointed Transport Secretary Philip Hammond as the new defense chief. Justine Greening, a Treasury minister, will replace Hammond as transport secretary.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.