Saudi King Salman steps in as Riyadh defends itself in Khashoggi case

Marsha Scott
October 16, 2018

On Monday morning, President Trump offered a hand, telling reporters that, after speaking with King Salman about Khashoggi's death, "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers - who knows".

Turkish police investigators entered Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate on Monday, two weeks after the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish officials say they fear a Saudi hit team killed Khashoggi, who has been missing almost two weeks.

He is the latest high-profile figure to pull out of a conference dubbed "Davos in the Desert" after the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Prince Mohammed, 33, a son of King Salman, consolidated his control in June 2017 when he was named Crown Prince to replace his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who was sacked.

Last year, Saudi Arabia launched the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference, an event attended by businesses and government leaders around the world to discuss trends in the global economy. These reports have yet to be confirmed publicly by Turkish officials.

The admission would mark a departure from the kingdom's repeated insistence that it had no knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi, who was picking up paperwork needed to marry his fiancée.

Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations.

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King Salman ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jamie Dimon, had been a featured speaker at the conference in Riyadh.

In recent days worldwide business leaders have announced that they are pulling out of the kingdom's upcoming investment forum. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials.

Experts now suspect that the Apple Watch recordings may have been fabricated by Turkish authorities to hide covert surveillance of the Saudi consulate, reports suggest.

Saudi Arabia has responded to Western statements by saying it would retaliate against any pressure or economic sanctions "with greater action", and Arab allies rallied to support it. CEO Bob Bakish, Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and World Bank President Jim Yong-kim, who have announced their decision not to attend.

Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post opinion pages.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the kingdom is weighing whether to say that rogue operatives killed Khashoggi by mistake during an interrogation. But Trump has said he is wary of halting U.S. military sales to Saudi Arabia over the incident. UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor urged a boycott of Virgin, which has suspended discussions with PIF over a planned $1 billion investment.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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