Iranian businessman Mohamed Harajchi: “A Disgusting Little Man”
Calling controversial Iranian businessman Mohamed Harajchi “a disgusting, little man”, CEO of Jones Communications Wendall Jones on Wednesday denied claims that Mr. Harajchi helped finance his business in the early 1990’s or at any other time.
Mr. Jones also said the government should revoke the permanent residency status of Mr. Harajchi.
“He is an unfit person to be a permanent resident of the Bahamas and as far as I am concerned anybody who is prepared to go to the lengths that he is going to destroy the good name and reputation of officials of the Government of the Bahamas should have his permanent residency revoked.
“Now, I don’t know whether or not the Government of the Bahamas is minded to do that, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve never come across a foreigner in the Bahamas who was more disgusting than this little man on Paradise Island.”
Mr. Harajchi at a press conference earlier in the day lashed out at Mr. Jones over an editorial published in the Bahama Journal on June 23, 2004 in which the paper questioned the truthfulness of his claims that he donated many millions of dollars to the Progressive Liberal Party for its election campaign in 2002.
The editorial said, “We are absolutely flabbergasted at suggestions that Mr. Harajchi –directly or indirectly - funneled some $10 million into that party’s coffers. We simply do not believe that is true. While we know that donations were made, it is absurd for anyone to suggest or believe that Mr. Harajchi would give any organization in this country $10 million. We do not believe that he is that generous.”
PLP National Chairman Raynard Rigby also denied that Mr. Harajchi had given the party anywhere near that much money. Mr. Harajchi did not produce documents to prove his claim, giving reporters only copies of a cheque where he made a $100,000 contribution.
At the press conference called primarily to discuss his contributions to the PLP, Mr. Harajchi sidetracked, telling reporters that he gave Mr. Jones money to help support his communications business.
He also distributed copies of a cheque in the amount of $3,000 dated April 27, 1991- that was made out to Mr. Jones, who heads radio Love 97 and the Bahama Journal.
“Mr. Wendall Jones asked ex-Minister of Sports Norman Gay to come and see me and I said no problem- and Mr. Jones came with Mr. Norman Gay and he told me how hard the newspaper life [is] and if I can assist him in the financial side,” Mr. Harajchi claimed.
“I said no problem and I helped him twice, once in the form of cash and once in the form of cheque…[A few weeks ago] I was reading his paper [which] said: Harajchi put up or shut up. I was disappointed. I said how [could] Mr. Jones tell such a thing? He came 10 years ago to my home, asked for assistance, I did and now today he is putting such a thing against me.”
In response to the statement, Mr. Jones said, “Mr. Harajchi knows that what he told the Bahamian public or the media was an untruth. Mr. Harajchi never, ever contributed to the funding of my business. What Mr. Harajchi did in 1991 was to pay my communications company $3,000 for services rendered. At the time, he was seeking to purchase Resorts International, which later became Sun International.”
Mr. Jones said Mr. Harajchi failed in that bid because the then PLP government felt that he was not the fit and proper person to be granted a casino license.
“Mr. Harajchi needed public relations services which we provided and indeed we used the Bahama Journal to print a number of stories on his businesses, both here as well as in Europe,” Mr. Jones said. “Mr. Harajchi as far as I am concerned is a disgusting, little man who has been going about this country impugning the reputation of businesspeople as well as government officials, making scurrilous and malicious remarks that he knows are untrue.
“The average Bahamian must see just how ridiculous his claims are. Mr. Harajchi and people of his ilk must know by now that I am un-bought and un-bossed.”
He added, “Mr. Harajchi has never, ever had to give me money for anything other than professional services. Indeed, Mr. Harajchi called me wanting me to support his position with the governor of the Central Bank in his ridiculous claims against the governor of the Central Bank and invited me to a dinner in Europe, which I refused to attend.
“He gave me his number saying where he was going to be in Paris at the time I traveled to Europe- and I refused to use the number or to attend any dinner with Mr. Harajchi because I know the kind of individual that he is.”
Mr. Harajchi maintains that Governor Julian Francis revoked his license for Suisse Security Bank & Trust three years ago after he declined to do a favour for the governor. It is a claim Mr. Francis has vehemently denied.