Involvement With Arms Dealer Gets Top WSJ Reporter Fired

Jay Solomon had been with the paper for two decades
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2017 6:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Wall Street Journal reporter was fired Wednesday over potential business dealings with an Iranian-born arms dealer. The Washington Post reports Jay Solomon, chief foreign affairs correspondent for the Journal, had received Pulitzer consideration and was well-liked by the paper's editor in chief. His shocking termination springs from an AP investigation into Farhad Azima, who Solomon used as a source for stories. Azima, who has dealt weapons to multiple nations and was tied to the Iran-contra affair, offered Solomon a 10% stake in a company called Denx. While it's unclear if Solomon ever accepted that stake, the AP uncovered 18 months of emails and texts between Solomon and Azima discussing business together.

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In 2014, Solomon texted Azima: "Our business opportunities are so promising." The following year, Azima wished Solomon luck "on his first defense sale" in regards to delivering a proposal to UAE representatives. Also in 2015, there was talk of Denx being involved in an effort to bring down the government of Kuwait, though Solomon denies any knowledge of that. "Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards," Politico quotes a statement from the Journal as saying. The newspaper says it was "dismayed" by Solomon's actions and "poor judgement." Solomon, while denying ever getting into business with Azima, says he understands "why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr. Azima may look like I was involved in some seriously troubling activities." (Read more Wall Street Journal stories.)

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