Saudis said ready to concede writer was slain in botched interrogation

Saudis said ready to concede writer was slain in botched interrogation

Saudi Arabia was preparing last night to admit that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed accidentally in its custody, according to sources close to a joint inquiry with Turkey.

Turkish officials have said that two private planes carrying 15 Saudi operatives flew to Turkey and the men were seen arriving at the consulate shortly before Khashoggi entered the compound.

They were published shortly after a report in the Washington Post - for whom Mr Khashoggi worked - cited USA government officials who believed that audio recordings proved he had been murdered while visiting the Saudi embassy.

The White House is brushing aside threats by Saudi Arabia that it may economically retaliate for any USA punitive action imposed over the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, pledging a "swift, open, transparent investigation" into his disappearance.

Britain, France and Germany have urged Saudi authorities to investigate the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Dissident journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi, 58, has been missing since last Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate to gather documents for marriage.

Worldwide concern continues to grow over the writer who vanished on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

"Together we must prove we will not be bullied or else, mark my words, once they have finished kicking the kingdom, we will be next in line", al-Habtoor said.

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He adds: "We're going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial".

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed, a claim Saudi Arabia denies.

The kingdom says the allegations are "baseless" but has offered no evidence Mr Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

In the days following his disappearance, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have demanded answers from the Saudis, an immediate halt of US arms sales to the repressive monarchy, and total withdrawal of American support for the kingdom's vicious assault on Yemen. Saudi Arabia's riyal currency was still testing the boundaries of its peg at 3.7514 to the dollar - its weakest spot rate since June 2017.

Saudi Arabia dismissed threats of sanctions the following day and vowed the oil-rich kingdom would retaliate against such action.

The State Department has urged a thorough investigation and called on Saudi Arabia to be transparent about the results - advice broadly tracking messages from allies in Europe. "If they are starting to use oil as their weapon, that will be a whole new chapter", said Kazuhiko Fuji, senior fellow at Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, a think-tank affiliated with the Japanese government.

On Sunday and early Monday, a trio of Wall Street's most powerful executives-JPMorgan Chase & Co. Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford won't attend because of a scheduling conflict, a spokeswoman said.

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