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The Wall Street Journal Just Fired A Top Correspondent For Ethical Violations

Jay Solomon was sacked just before the Associated Press reported he had been involved in a potential deal with an Iranian-born businessman.

Last updated on June 21, 2017, at 5:44 p.m. ET

Posted on June 21, 2017, at 4:05 p.m. ET

Jay Solomon in 2004
Gurinder Osan / AP

Jay Solomon in 2004

The Wall Street Journal fired its chief foreign affairs correspondent on Wednesday amid reports that he violated the publication's ethical guidelines by becoming involved in deals with a source — which included selling arms to foreign governments.

In a statement, the Journal said that it had sacked Jay Solomon, and was "dismayed" by his actions and "poor judgment."

"The allegations raised by this reporting are serious," the statement added. "While our investigation continues, we have concluded that Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards. He has not been forthcoming with us about his actions or his reporting practices and he has forfeited our trust."

The firing came just before the Associated Press published a story about Solomon's alleged involvement in a potential business deal with Farhad Azima, a businessman who was born in Iran and who has transported weapons for the CIA. Azima reportedly offered Solomon a 10% stake in a company.

According to the AP, it was not clear if Solomon actually accepted the stake or received any money from Azima.

The allegations against Solomon came to light when the AP obtained emails and text messages between him and Azima. Solomon was also reportedly listed on an operating agreement the AP obtained as having an apparent stake in the company, Denx LLC.

In addition, two other men reportedly told the AP that Solomon cultivated Azima as a reporting source, while also discussing potential deals with him. The men said Solomon eventually withdrew from the business.

Florida registration records indicate that Denx was closed last year. The AP uncovered the relationship between Solomon and Azima while working on a story about the Iranian-born businessman.

Solomon has worked as a journalist for nearly two decades and is the author of The Iran Wars, a book described on his website as an "exploration of the country's decades-long power struggle with the United States."

As a reporter for the Journal, Solomon worked in an array of other countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The Journal nominated his work for a Pulitzer Prize on three occasions, according to Solomon's website.

Solomon did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment. However, he told the Associated Press that “I clearly made mistakes in my reporting and entered into a world I didn’t understand.”

“I never entered into any business with Farhad Azima, nor did I ever intend to," Solomon said. "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."

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