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Wall Street Journal fires reporter over involvement with potential spy plane deal

Posted June 21

The Wall Street Journal has fired one of its top reporters amid evidence that he was involved in a prospective business arrangement with a man who was also one of his sources.

Jay Solomon, the Journal's chief foreign affairs correspondent, entertained an offer from Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born aviation magnate who has reportedly had ties to the CIA, to buy a stake in a now-defunct private intelligence firm.

In a statement, the Journal said Jay Solomon "violated his ethical obligations as a reporter" and was no longer employed by the company.

Revelations about Solomon's ethical violations came to light during a weeks-long Associated Press investigation into Azima published Tuesday.

During the investigation, the AP said, it obtained emails and text messages between Azima and Solomon related to the prospective business deal. The AP also said it obtained an operating agreement listing Solomon as a potential stakeholder in Denx, the private intelligence firm.

Solomon told the AP he never entered into any business deal with Azima, and the AP said it was unclear whether he received money or formally accepted a stake in Denx.

"I clearly made mistakes in my reporting and entered into a world I didn't understand." Solomon told the AP. "I never entered into any business with Farhad Azima, nor did I ever intend to. But I understand why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr. Azima may look like I was involved in some seriously troubling activities. I apologize to my bosses and colleagues at the Journal, who were nothing but great to me."

In its own statement, the Journal said it was "dismayed by the actions and poor judgement of Jay Solomon."

"The allegations raised by this reporting are serious. While our own investigation continues, we have concluded that Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards," the Journal said. "He has not been forthcoming with us about his actions or his reporting practices and he has forfeited our trust. Mr. Solomon is no longer employed by The Wall Street Journal."

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