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Alleged ‘gold smuggler’ Simon Rudland demands apology from Al Jazeera

Controversial businessman Simon Rudland has called on Al Jazeera to retract and issue a public apology for citing him as one of the biggest funders of gold smuggling activities in Zimbabwe.

This comes after an opening episode of the Al Jazeera documentary released last week exposing gold smuggling syndicate implicated Rudland as the primary funder of smuggling syndicate.

Rudland, the owner of Gold Leaf Tobacco, was mentioned by self-confessed gold smuggler Ewan Macmillan.

It was revealed that Rudland among other Zanu-PF aligned business people, on behalf of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, are sponsoring and engaging in gold smuggling, in an illicit world connecting Southern Africa with the Middle East via Dubai.

Against this background, Rudland issued a statement denying allegations by Al Jazeera. He demanded a public apology.

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“I deny all allegations made against me concerning gold smuggling, money laundering or collusion with any government,” Rudland said.

“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.”

In the documentary, Uebert Angel, appointed Ambassador-at-Large and a Presidential Envoy by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March 2021, was allegedly secretly recorded boasting that he could launder as much as US$1.2 billion and equal worth in gold without any glitch.

Angel’s Personal Assistant Rikki Doolan is recorded mentioning US$200,000 facilitation fees to meet the President.

But in a statement released by the Office of Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large (OPEAAL), Chief Investment Officer, Dr Sobona Mtisi claimed that Angel “made several calls to decoys working with our office. It is these decoys who posed as Henrietta Rushwaya, the First Lady, and the First Son.

Mtisi insisted that the figures of US$200,000 which were mentioned as facilitation fees to meet Mnangagwa were just him playing along to the “investors” as they had already begun to suspect that they were criminals.