Ayman Hariri, CEO of viral social app Vero, has shared a document that shows he was not financially tied to or running Saudi construction company Saudi Oger when it left thousands of migrant workers destitute and homeless.
The decision followed backlash from Vero users and media reports exploring Hariri’s ties to the company that caused such damage and destruction to people’s well-beings. Hariri did indeed serve as Deputy CEO and Deputy Chairman of Saudi Oger, as explained in a previous statement from Vero’s team, until 2013.
And yet, Gizmodo uncovered a press release from Vero, dated February 17, 2016, that described Hariri as “Vice Chairman & Deputy CEO of Saudi Oger.” In a conversation with CNN, Hariri also used the term “we” when describing the “complicated situation” at Saudi Oger, further making his ties to the company murky.
“It’s unfortunate what happened at the company,” Hariri told CNN. “It was a complicated situation of having people not receive salaries and not be happy. It is the furthest thing that we wanted or could have imagined.”
It did used to be a “we” situation, at least. Ayman Hariri was one of three partners in Saudi Oger, along with Nazik Odah and Saad Hariri.
A document shared with Mashable via Vero’s media relations team reveals Ayman Hariri’s divestiture from Saudi Oger, dated July 2014. As outlined in the document, Hariri requested to transfer “total shares in the company, being (11,250,000) eleven million two hundred fifty thousand shares at a par value for (112,500,000) one hundred twelve million five hundred thousand Saudi Riyals … to the partner Saad Addin Rafik Bahaaeddine Al Hariri.” Saad Hariri is Ayman’s brother.
According to a Vero spokesperson, the agreement was decided upon in December 2013, which would align with Ayman Hariri’s language of disconnecting himself from Saudi Oger as of 2013.
Despite no longer being connected financially to Saudi Oger and no longer serving as a partner, it’s still unclear how much influence Hariri could have had at the company due to his previous status and his familial ties. There’s also an argument to be made that his inaction is not commendable.
Hariri told Mashable in an interview on Tuesday that his father “came across a power … of becoming successful financially, and [he] used that selflessly … The thing that I inherited from him is just a sense of what’s right, what’s wrong, and [to quote] from him, the biggest reason for his success was honesty.”
Here’s the document: