Individuals and businesses are distancing themselves from Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

richard branson

Several individuals and entities have begun distancing themselves from Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of journalist and prominent Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was last seen on October 2, when he entered into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to secure official documents for his upcoming wedding to his Turkish fiance Hatice Cengiz.

The 59-year-old, who formerly served as an adviser to senior officials in the Saudi government and who had been living in self-imposed exile in the US, has not been seen since.

Some have speculated that he could have been kidnapped or killed inside the consulate, reportedly at the order of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using a team of hit men flown in specially to undertake the task.

Official response to Khashoggi’s disappearance have been mixed.

Saudi officials claim that The Washington Post contributor left the consulate, but haven’t provided any definitive proof. Turkish officials previously alleged that Khashoggi was killed and claim there’s no evidence he ever left the consulate, while Canada, the UN, and President Trump have expressed „concern“ over the journalist’s whereabouts.

In a story published Thursday, The Washington Post said the Turkish government told US officials it has audio and video showing that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

Global business leaders, policymakers, media moguls and tech executives have also taken notice and are beginning to move away from dealings with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

SEE ALSO: A prominent Saudi critic’s disappearance sends a stark reminder of the Kingdom’s brutal crackdown on dissent

Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Group

Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Group are severing ties with Saudi Arabia because of the Khashoggi case. 

In a blog post on Virgin Group’s website, Branson announced that Virgin Galatic and Virgin Orbit will suspend its discussions with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

“What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi Government,” Branson wrote. “We have asked for more information from the authorities in Saudi and to clarify their position in relation to Mr. Khashoggi.”

US lawmakers

Nearly two dozen senators, led by the Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee and the Democratic ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, have sent a letter to US President Donald Trump, recommending an investigation and possible sanctions against those found to be involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.  

Republican and Democratic lawmakers are also pushing to block Saudi arms sales.

Former US secretary of energy Ernest Moniz

Former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz suspended his membership on an advisory board for a $500 billion Saudi megacity project called Neom.

„Given current events, I am suspending my participation on the Neom board. Going forward, my engagement with the advisory board will depend on learning all the facts about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance over the coming days and weeks,“ Moniz said in a statement provided to Business Insider.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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