Richard Branson halts talks with Saudis over $1B investment in Virgin Group’s space ventures

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British billionaire Richard Branson mentioned on Thursday that his Virgin Group would droop its discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund over a deliberate $1 billion funding within the group’s area ventures, in mild of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“What has reportedly occurred in Turkey across the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the flexibility of any of us within the West to do enterprise with the Saudi authorities,” Branson mentioned in an announcement.

Protection of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi:

Branson additionally mentioned he would droop his directorship in two Saudi tourism initiatives across the Crimson Sea, citing Khashoggi’s disappearance. Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Strain has mounted on Saudi Arabia since Oct. 2 when Khashoggi, a outstanding critic of Saudi insurance policies and a Washington Submit journalist, went lacking. He was final seen getting into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Final yr, Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund mentioned it deliberate to speculate about $1 billion in Branson’s area firm, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Firm and Virgin Orbit.

READ MORE: Donald Trump defends Saudi arms deal amid issues over lacking author

Branson mentioned on Thursday, “We’ve got requested for extra info from the authorities in Saudi and to make clear their place in relation to Mr. Khashoggi.”

U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned on Thursday that the USA has investigators abroad to help Turkey in its investigation of the journalist’s disappearance and that they have been additionally working with Saudi Arabia.

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