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Oliver North forced out as NRA chief after accusing group of financial improprieties

Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP | NRA President Oliver North speaks at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 148th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 26, 2019.

Retired US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North said Saturday he was being forced out as head of the National Rifle Association due to his allegations that NRA leaders engaged in financial improprieties.

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Retired US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North will step down as president of the National Rifle Association, North said in a statement on Saturday, adding that he was being forced out due to his allegations that NRA leaders had engaged in financial improprieties.

In a letter to the organisation’s annual meeting in Indianapolis read out by an NRA board member, North said he will not stand for re-election when his term ends on Monday.

He said he believes a committee should be set up to review the NRA's finances, adding that there is a "clear crisis" that "needs to be dealt with" if the gun advocacy group is to survive.

North's announcement came after a failed attempt to force out NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre, who has been the public face of the group for decades.

"Please know I hoped to be with you today as NRA president endorsed for reelection. I'm now informed that will not happen," North said in his statement, which was read out by the NRA's first vice president. North did not show up for the meeting and his spot on the stage was left empty, with his nameplate still in its place.

North made it clear he was being pushed out by the NRA's board of directors. His announcement came after LaPierre sent a letter to board members Thursday saying that North was trying to force him to resign by threatening to release "damaging" information about him to the board.

North, who was named by the NRA as its president in May 2018, was a pivotal figure in the Iran-Contra affair involving secret sales of arms to Iran by Republican president Ronald Reagan’s administration and the unlawful diversion of the proceeds to Nicaraguan rebels.

More recently he has worked as a conservative commentator for US media.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AP)

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