Simon Rudland, a Zimbabwean businessman, is demanding a public apology from Al Jazeera Investigations after being named as part of the “gold mafia” and the biggest funder of smuggling activities in Zimbabwe in a recently premiered documentary.
In the first episode of the Al Jazeera documentary titled “The Laundry Service,” self-confessed gold smuggler Ewan Macmillan alleged that Rudland was the major financier of gold smuggling in Zimbabwe and was owed about US$200 million by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). The documentary also claimed that Rudland launders money through both Zimbabwean and South African companies.
According to the documentary, MacMillan said that Rudland bankrolls the entire country and has the power to easily secure meetings with the Reserve Bank governor. “He is massive. He is one mother***, my friend. You have no idea how big he is,” said Macmillan.
Rudland, who owns Gold Leaf Tobacco, has denied all the allegations made against him and intends to sue Al Jazeera over the broadcast. He stated that the allegations are false and were made without any evidence, and that the documentary is sensational propaganda that is harmful to his reputation.
“I deny all allegations made against me concerning gold smuggling, money laundering, or collusion with any government. The allegations are false and are made without any proof and the documentary is extremely sensational. This propaganda is injurious to my good name,” said Rudland in a statement.
Rudland has urged Al Jazeera to retract their statements and issue a public apology. He has also indicated that he will be taking legal action against the media house for the damage caused.
The allegations made against Rudland in the Al Jazeera documentary have caused a stir in Zimbabwe, where gold smuggling has become a major issue. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has previously warned against illegal gold trading and smuggling, and has been working to crack down on the practice.
Al Jazeera has not yet responded to Rudland’s demand for a public apology.