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ARLINGTON, Va. — Former Reagan administration defense official Richard Perle, who is one of the influential civilian advocates of the pre-emptive strike on Iraq, resigned Thursday as chairman of the Defense Policy Board in the wake of allegations that his business dealings present a conflict of interest.

A longtime regular on the Washington power scene, Perle is an arms-control expert and leader of the so-called Republican “neoconservatives” — a group of foreign policy hawks inside and outside the Bush administration that advocates the firm exercise of U.S. military power and strong government support for Israel.

Perle has been urging the U.S. government to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein for the past 10 years.

He obtained a major platform to advance his views two years ago, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld named him chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a group of retired military and civilian advisers that plays a significant role in the development of Pentagon policies.

But Perle also is a major investor in and adviser to a number of defense companies, and criticism has been mounting that Perle stands to profit handsomely from extended U.S. military conflicts.

The controversy centers on Perle’s deal with bankrupt Global Crossing Ltd. to win government approval of its purchase by a joint venture of two Asian firms. Perle would receive $725,000 for his work, including $600,000 if the government approves the deal, according to lawyers and others involved in the bankruptcy case.

The deal is under review by a government group that includes representatives from the Defense Department.

Perle vehemently has denied any conflicts of interest between his advisory role to the Bush administration and his business dealings.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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