Richard Branson Halts Saudi Talks Over Missing Journalist Khashoggi

Turkey claims the reporter was murdered in Saudi Arabia consulate.

Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson attends day nine of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2018 in London, England. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Richard Branson has suspended talks with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund over its planned $1 billion investment in Virgin Group’s space companies following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was last seen entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish officials allege that he may have been murdered there. Saudi officials say Khashoggi left the building unharmed on the same day.

“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 said in an Oct. 11 statement posted on the Virgin website, according to Bloomberg.

Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund said it planned to invest in Virgin Galactic, the Spaceship Co., and Virgin Orbit. At the time, Branson said he was “delighted to welcome the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as our new partners.”

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