In an extraordinary board meeting on Thursday, Terje Rød-Larsen tendered his resignation as president of the think tank International Peace Institute (IPI), which was accepted, the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reported.
Rød-Larsen apologised to the board for his "poor judgment" when receiving donations for the think tank from foundations associated with the deceased financier and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
"Epstein's crimes were horrific. The notion that IPI would in some way be associated with such an ugly type is contrary to the institution's core values", IPI said, as quoted by Dagens Næringsliv.
The think tank said it would donate the sums from Epstein's foundations to programmes that support victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
IPI's vice president, Adam Lupel, will temporarily replace Rød-Larsen.
The chairman of the board, Kevin Rudd, minced no words when slamming Rød-Larsen.
"Neither the loan nor the repayment of it had previously been disclosed to the board or to me as chairman. Rød-Larsen has apologised to the board for what he has described as a serious misjudgment. I am deeply disappointed that the board has had to find out so much of this through the media", Rudd said in a statement to Dagens Næringsliv.
Dagens Næringsliv earlier established that Rød-Larsen had borrowed money from the financier in 2013, and that IPI has received donations from foundations affiliated with Epstein. Furthermore, Rød-Larsen personally owed Epstein $130,000. Rød-Larsen himself called the loan a "serious misjudgment".
This is not the first scandal involving Rød-Larsen. In 1996, Rød-Larsen resigned as Deputy Prime Minister in the Jagland cabinet following revelations about his stock trading. He failed to claim a profit of NOK 600,000 ($63,000) on his tax return, thus avoiding paying any taxes on it.
Rød-Larsen came to international prominence during the negotiations that led to the Oslo Accords in the 1990s. The latter were the first-ever agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). In 1993, Rød-Larsen was appointed Ambassador and Special Adviser for the Middle East Peace process to the Norwegian Foreign Minister, and the following year became the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories.
Following his resignation, he returned to the UN, again becoming an Under-Secretary-General. From 2004 to 2020, Rød-Larsen presided over the International Peace Institute (IPI), based in New York City and adjacent to the United Nations.
Convicted sex felon Jeffrey Epstein was charged with human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors, but died in a prison cell on 10 August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. He has been accused by dozens of women of abusing them as minors. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's partner, is accused of aiding and abetting the abuse.