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Another FDP politician stripped of doctorate in plagiarism affair

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Photo: DPA
11:43 CEST+02:00
Another high-profile politician of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, has been stripped of his university doctorate amid a plagiarism scandal but has vowed to write another thesis if necessary.

Citing many instances of passages taken from the work of other researchers without proper recognition, an academic council of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Bonn decided unanimously to annul the doctorate degree of Chatzimarkakis, an FDP member of the European Parliament.

The decision broadens the academic plagiarism scandal that began with former defence minister and rising conservative star Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and spread to FDP EU parliamentarian Silvana Koch-Mehrin. Guttenberg has quit politics, his career in tatters, while Koch-Mehrin gave up her party positions but has kept her seat in Brussels.

Chatzimarkakis has so far given no indication he will resign. Bonn's dean of philosophy, Günther Schulz, said late on Wednesday that Chatzimarkakis had used verbatim passages of other authors' work without quotation marks. While he did mark the passages with footnotes, this was insufficient acknowledgement of the original authors, which breached the rules of scientific research, Schulz said.

“Such a practice conveys the impression that Mr Chatzimarkakis is speaking here, while in fact texts of other authors is reproduced,” he said.

The faculty council had established that more than half of his thesis came from other people's work, which did not satisfy the demands required for a doctorate to be awarded.

“We will undertake strengthened efforts to prevent such ploys in the future,” he said.

Chatzimarkakis said he was upset by the decision but took comfort that the faculty had not ascribed any bad faith to his work. He said he had published his doctoral thesis online in 2000 because he was convinced that it had been sufficient for his doctorate qualification.

He said he still aimed to hold a doctorate and would write another thesis if necessary. The original thesis was on global information and E-commerce.

“I am ready to take on new doctoral work,” he said.

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Chatzimarkakis said he had offered his thesis to the dean in the middle of May for reassessment when the first reports that he may have copied sections emerged.

The same faculty in Bonn is also reviewing new plagiarism claims against the FDP member Margarita Mathiopoulos.

DPA/The Local/djw

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