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Sunday , October 20 2019

Prosecutors discuss Khashoggi killing

ISTANBUL, Oct 29, (Agencies): Top Saudi and Turkish prosecutors on Monday discussed the investigation into the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, a show of cooperation despite differences over which country should try 18 suspects who were detained in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor, Saud al- Mojeb, met Istanbul’s chief public prosecutor, Irfan Fidan, for one hour and 15 minutes at the main courthouse in Turkey’s biggest city, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The two countries are jointly investigating the killing in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, though Turkey has leaked evidence to the media in an apparent effort to pressure its regional rival for full disclosure.

Turkey also says a trial in Turkey would be transparent, reflecting concerns about official Saudi attempts to dodge responsibility for the killing.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Monday welcomed the cooperation between Turkish and Saudi investigators and said he hoped there would be no delays.

“The investigation should be concluded as soon as possible,” Cavusoglu said. “The whole world is curious. All the truth should be revealed.” Saudi Arabia is unlikely to see significant impact on its foreign trade and investment flows following the killing of Khashoggi, the chief executive of Europe’s biggest bank HSBC said on Monday.

“It has been a difficult few weeks for the Kingdom, this has not been good for Saudi Arabia,” HSBC CEO John Flint told Reuters in an interview. “I understand the emotion around the story, but it is very difficult to think about disengaging from Saudi Arabia given its importance to global energy markets,” he said. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.

His death sparked global outrage and pitched the world’s top oil exporter into crisis, putting the West’s relationship with Riyadh into sharp focus given scepticism about Saudi Arabia’s shifting explanations of the killing. But while many global companies made a show of protest by withdrawing their top executives from a high-profile investment conference in Riyadh last week, industry and banking chiefs seem likely to continue courting the Kingdom and its oil wealth as before.

While HSBC’s Flint pulled out of the conference, the lender’s investment banking chief Samir Assaf spoke onstage at the event. HSBC has played an increasingly active role in Saudi Arabia in recent years. Flint said the bank will remain supportive of its local affiliate in the Kingdom, Saudi British Bank (SABB), Flint said.

The European lender has booked over $3 billion in profit from its investment in SABB and around $170 million in investment banking fees from the country since 2008, according to Refinitiv data. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, plans to more than double its investments in Saudi Arabia after it is included in the fund’s reference index soon, Chief Executive Yngve Slyngstad said on Friday.

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