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Head of British legion resigns amid lobbying flap
Monday - 10/15/2012, 8:56am EDT
LONDON (AP) - The Royal British Legion said Monday its president has resigned after a newspaper sting in which retired senior officers were recorded appearing to offer lobbying services on behalf of defense companies.
The Sunday Times reported that officers, including former head of the army Gen. Richard Dannatt and the British Legion's Lt. Gen. Sir John Kiszely, had boasted about their access to ministers and senior officials.
The officers deny wrongdoing, and the newspaper didn't suggest they had broken laws. Retired personnel are allowed to work for the private sector two years after leaving the military.
The British Legion, which offers help to service members and their families, said Monday it had received Kiszely's letter of resignation in which he said he had always kept his role as president separate from any business interests.
"I have made it equally clear that I have never breached any Government rules related to lobbying," he said in the resignation letter. "But I made exaggerated and foolish claims to the contrary, incompatible with my position in the Legion."
The legion's director general Chris Simpkins said that after discussing the matter, Kiszely's remarks were "out of character" but that no breach of the organization's code of conduct had occurred.
Simpkins said he had accepted Kiszely's resignation and his successor will be announced shortly.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)