Turkey to search Saudi consulate in Istanbul for missing journalist on Monday

Saul Bowman
October 15, 2018

King Salman over the weekend ordered the Saudi public prosecutor to investigate the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, partly due to information received from Turkish authorities, the official said on Monday.

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

Concerns appeared to spread Monday to Japan's SoftBank, which has invested tens of billions of dollars of Saudi government funds.

'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, ' said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia warned that if it "receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy". However, its embassy in Washington later tweeted its gratitude to the United States for showing restraint and not jumping to conclusions.

Europe's largest economies - Britain, France and Germany - said on Sunday they were treating the case with "the utmost seriousness".

Turkish diplomatic sources said the consulate would be searched by a joint Turkish-Saudi team in the late afternoon or evening.

In an overnight 60 Minutes interview, the USA leader said the consequences of Saudi Arabia being involved in Khashoggi's death would be "severe". However, a column published in English a short time later by the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news network suggested Saudi Arabia could use its oil production as a weapon.

"It would lead to Saudi Arabia's failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels".

"If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure", Turki Aldakhil wrote.

Foreign capital is key to Saudi plans for economic diversification and job creation.

News that the CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, would pull out of the conference drew angry responses across the region.

Already, worldwide business leaders are pulling out of the kingdom's upcoming investment forum, a high-profile event known as "Davos in the Desert", and the sell-off on Riyadh's Tadawul stock exchange showed that investors are uneasy. Ford Motor Co said Chairman Bill Ford has canceled his trip to the Middle East, which included an appearance at the Saudi investment conference. But it has rapidly become a vehicle for those firms to express their concerns over Khashoggi's disappearance.

The cancellations could add pressure on other USA firms like Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N , Mastercard Inc MA.N and Bank of America Corp BAC.N to reconsider their plans to attend the investor event.

Aldakhil added that Saudi arms purchases from the USA and other trade could be at risk as well. We can not guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

The exchange dropped by over 500 points, then clawed back some of the losses, ending the day down 264 points, or more than 4 percent. The act has in the past imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials.

"The King has ordered the Public Prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the info from the joint team in Istanbul", a Saudi official, not authorised to speak publicly, told Reuters.

The inspection was agreed after a Saudi delegation of a dozen officials arrived in Turkey while Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Recep Erdogan spoke on the phone yesterday. There is no alternative to carrying out this inspection.

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