Bar Ilan to award honorary degree to pardoned man

An Israeli university was awarding an honorary doctorate Tuesday to Marc Rich, who got of a last-minute pardon from then-US President Bill Clinton and founded of an oil trading firm under investigation for dealings with Saddam Hussein. Bar-Ilan University will confer the degree in recognition of the billionaire financier's contributions to Israel and the university's research programs, the university said. The ceremony was set for Tuesday evening. "Bar-Ilan University is one of many distinguished institutions which have benefited from the largesse" of Rich, the university said in a written statement, adding the decision was based on philanthropic rather than personal matters. Officials declined to say how much Rich has given the university, but said his donations have supported research for treatments of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.