The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday fired its highly regarded chief foreign affairs correspondent after evidence emerged of his involvement in prospective commercial deals — including one involving arms sales to foreign governments — with an international businessman who was one of his key sources.
of the Associated Press reported, “The reporter, Jay Solomon, was offered a 10 percent stake in a fledgling company, Denx LLC, by Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born aviation magnate who has ferried weapons for the CIA. It was not clear whether Solomon ever received money or formally accepted a stake in the company.
“‘We are dismayed by the actions and poor judgment of Jay Solomon,’ Wall Street Journal spokesman Steve Severinghaus wrote in a statement to The Associated Press. ‘While our own investigation continues, we have concluded that Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards.’
“Azima was the subject of an AP investigative article published Tuesday. During the course of its investigation, the AP obtained emails and text messages between Azima and Solomon, as well as an operating agreement for Denx dated March 2015, which listed an apparent stake for Solomon.
“As part of its reporting, the AP had asked the Journal about the documents appearing to link Solomon and Azima. The relationship was uncovered in interviews and in internal documents that Azima’s lawyer said were stolen by hackers.”
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Solomon has written from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, including stints in Jakarta, Indonesia; Seoul, South Korea; New Delhi, India; and Washington, D.C. The Wall Street Journal has nominated him for three Pulitzer Prizes.
Solomon was the first American journalist to uncover the secret meetings between the United States and Iran that took place in Oman. He led coverage of the nuclear negotiations for the Journal from 2012 through 2015.