BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta plagiarized a large part of his doctoral thesis, a panel of academics at Bucharest University which awarded the qualification, said on Friday.

"Plagiarism elements were identified in the doctoral thesis of Mr. Victor Pinta especially in chapters one and three," said Marian Popescu, president of Bucharest University's ethics commission.

Ponta denies the charges and says only an education ministry panel, which cleared him of plagiarism, is entitled to judge the case. Another academic panel has concluded Ponta plagiarized a large part of the thesis, but Ponta said the finding was politically motivated and he would not resign.

(Reporting by Sam Cage, Radu Marinas and Ioana Patran)