Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

'Rogue Killers' May Have Murdered Saudi Journalist, Trump Suggests

'Rogue Killers' May Have Murdered Saudi Journalist, Trump Suggests

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is understood to be preparing a report in which it is likely to admit dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi died during an interrogation at its consulate in Istanbul, according to a media report. The Saudi government, it said, would shield the prince by blaming an intelligence official for the bungled operation.

Trump also announced he'd dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the kingdom - and anywhere else necessary - to get to the bottom of the apparent demise of Khashoggi, a Saudi man who had been living and working in self-imposed exile in the United States.

"The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations." the official Saudi Press Agency quoted an unnamed government source as saying.

Mr Trump said at the White House that he had spoken with King Salman, who told him he had no knowledge of Khashoggi's fate.

In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired on Sunday, Trump said there would be consequences if it turned out Saudi Arabia had anything to do with Khashoggi's mysterious disappearance. The members arrived by unmarked police cars but said nothing to journalists waiting outside as they entered the building. Trump himself said without offering evidence that Khashoggi could have been murdered by "rogue killers", offering the US-allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.

Saudi Arabia unapologetically flogs, imprisons - and occasionally, crucifies - people for committing the crime of "homosexual intercourse".

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents but Riyadh has always strongly denied this.

USA lawmakers have been demanding to scrap the $110 billion mega defence deal with the Saudis, whereas heads of several companies, CEOs, newspapers have announced not to attend an upcoming finance conference in Saudi Arabia.

Cleaning personnel enter Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on Monday. A police dog was part of the search team.

But Riyadh vowed to hit back on Sunday against any punitive measures as its stock market tumbled, with the fallout from the crisis threatening to imperil Prince Mohammed's much-hyped economic reform drive.

In a major new blow for the event, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford also cancelled plans to attend as well as Larry Fink, the head of investment giant BlackRock, and Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone.

The Stephen Harper government brokered a massive combat-vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia before the Trudeau government took power in 2015.

Khashoggi often wrote columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has considerable weight in the actions of the Riyadh government.

In commodities, tension between the United States, the world's top oil consumer, and Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest producers, pushed up crude prices on concerns about supply.

'In this spirit, light must be shed on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose family has lost contact with him since October 2.

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