MULTI-MILLIONAIRE businessman Simon Rudland, who was cited as the biggest funder of gold smuggling activities in Zimbabwe during an Al Jazeera investigation, has demanded an apology from the station and indicated he will be suing.
Rudland was mentioned by self-confessed gold smuggler Ewan Macmillan in the opening episode of the bombshell Al Jazeera documentary as the major financier of the gold smuggling syndicate using a personal fortune amassed via his cigarette businesses in his native Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The documentary alleged that Rudland, one of Zimbabwe’s richest men, launders money through both Zimbabwean and South African companies.
Rudland is the owner of Gold Leaf Tobacco, one of southern Africa’s biggest cigarette brands, especially on South Africa’s black market.
According to Ewan MacMillan, a self-confessed gold smuggler who was exposed in the documentary, Rudland allegedly bankrolls the Zimbabwe government. Said, MacMillan
“He bankrolls this whole country. If he wants, he phones up the governor, the reserve bank governor. ‘Hi, I want a meeting. Okay, fine. What time?’ ‘I am coming at 11. Okay, fine.’
“He is massive. He is one mother***, my friend. You have no idea, how big he is ,” MacMillan said.
Macmillan bragged he was the most influential of all gold smugglers in Zimbabwe along with Kamlesh Pattni, implicated in a gold smuggling scheme in the 1990s in Kenya before he moved his operation to Zimbabwe.
The undercover operation by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit) also implicated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Special Envoy Uebert Angel and niece Henrietta Rushwaya.
Angel has since revealed that Mnangagwa’s son and his wife Auxillia were also recorded during the Aljazeera investigation.
While Al Jazeera revealed how Rudland launders money through both Zimbabwean and South African companies, the very wealthy businessman with interests in logistics, agriculture, and finance has denied the allegations.
“I deny all allegations made against me concerning gold smuggling, money laundering or collusion with any government,” read his statement.
“The allegations are false and are made without any proof and the documentary is extremely sensational, this propaganda is injurious to my good name.
“I urge Al Jazeera to retract their statements and issue a public apology. Notwithstanding this, I will in any event be instituting legal action against the media house for severe reputational harm caused.”
He is the second to dismiss the claims covered in Gold Mafia, a four-part series documenting the ill.
Angel this weekend claimed to have known he was being ‘secretly’ recorded and similarly investigating Al Jazeera’s team of investigate reporters posing as Chinese criminals.
Rushwaya on the other hand said an audio circulating of a woman claiming to be her and calling Zimbabweans dunderheads is fake.
The audio came up after the release of the documentary’s first episode The Laundry Service in which she confirmed her involvement in cahoots with Angel.
The second episode is expected on Friday. – Newzimbabwe