Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Saudi Arabia rejects baseless allegations of Khashoggi murder

Saudi Arabia rejects baseless allegations of Khashoggi murder

President Donald Trump said in an interview with 60 Minutes that the Saudis could be behind the disappearance of missing journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, and if so, the us would inflict "severe punishment".

News reports about orders to kill Khashoggi "are lies and baseless allegations", the minister said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

"Could it be them?"

President Trump warned the USA would inflict "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia was behind his disappearance. A number of outlets, including Bloomberg, CNN, and CNBC have said that they won't be attending the event, but Mnuchin said, "I am planning on going if more information comes out and changes".

While Saudi officials contend that Khashoggi went missing after exiting the building, the incident smells bad enough for some foreign executives to distance themselves from business ties to the Gulf country. However he appeared keen to rule out sanctions, saying he did not want to "hurt [US] jobs" by halting military sales to Saudi Arabia.

Several reports have indicated that the 15-strong group - among them bin Salman's elite close protection unit - who had arrived in Istanbul only to leave the Turkish soil hours later, either killed or kidnapped Khashoggi at the consulate.

Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says he will suspend his role as director in two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia while an investigation takes place.

It was not clear whether United States officials have seen the footage or listened to the audio, but Turkish officials described their contents to their American counterparts, the newspaper said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has challenged Saudi Arabia to provide CCTV images to back up its account that Khashoggi left the consulate safely.

Also speaking on Friday's release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, Cavusoglu said he was released as the judicial process on Brunson was completed.

He reportedly handed his phones to his fiancée before entering the consulate.

"Russia and China wanted it very badly.I would - from the standpoint of jobs, economic development, a lot of other reasons, I would like to do something where we could maybe look at other things, because that's a tremendous order for our companies. And you know what, there are other ways of punishing, to use a word that's a pretty harsh word, but it's true".

Perhaps the most under-the-bullseye in this ugly story is Jared Kushner, who has played host to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi intelligence noticed the watch on Khashoggi's wrist "and tried to erase some files", the paper said.

It asked whether Hatice Cengiz was truly the person she said she was, claiming that her Twitter profile showed she had followed "critics of Saudi Arabia".

As a contributor to The Washington Post, Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticism of its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.

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