Khashoggi killing: Saudi prosecutor holds talks with Turkish intelligence officials, French FM says ‘haven’t ruled out sanctions against Saudi’

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor held talks with Turkish intelligence officials overnight over the investigation into slain dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi‘s killing, according to Demiroren news agency.

Khashoggi entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He was not seen since.

Saudi Arabia has admitted that the Saudi critic died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate – after weeks of consistent denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.

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Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.

The Turkish news agency said Saud al-Mojed left his hotel shortly after midnight and went to the Istanbul regional offices of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT). It is not clear how long he stayed.

Meanwhile, France has not ruled out any sanctions against Saudi Arabia if its authorities are found to be involved in Khashoggi’s killing, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday.

“So long as those who are responsible and the circumstances around the killing are not made public, released and evaluated, we will go on demanding the truth,” Le Drian told RTL radio. “So far we don’t have it.”

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“We’ll take the necessary measures against those who are responsible,” he said, adding that France didn’t rule out any sanctions against Saudi Arabia, which is a large buyer of French exports, including weapons and luxury goods.

While criticizing Germany for halting arms sales to Riyadh before investigations conclude, Le Drian downplayed the importance of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia for the French, saying they represented only 7 percent of the country’s overall weapon exports.

“We are not dependent on Saudi Arabia on that matter,” he said.

Moreover, Gulf investors sold a net total of $273m of Saudi stocks between October 8 and 26, partly due to fear that Khashoggi’s killing could damage Saudi ties with the West and lead to economic sanctions, according to a monthly poll by Reuters news agency.

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However, the poll of 13 leading Middle Eastern fund managers, suggested that most funds do not intent to continue selling.

Twenty-three percent expect to raise their allocations to Saudi equities in the next three months and the same proportion to reduce them. September’s poll showed that 38 percent anticipated increasing Saudi allocations and none foresaw cutting them.

Many managers are still looking ahead to estimated inflows into Saudi Arabia of about $15 billion of “passive” funds next year when Riyadh’s market joins emerging market indexes. Since this money is closely linked to the indexes, it is unlikely to be affected by geopolitics.

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