Saudi Arabia Begins Probe Into Khashoggi Disappearance

Saudi journalist disappearance Riyadh rejects ‘threats’ warns of retaliation in case of sanctions

In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom said that "light must be shed" on the disappearance of the US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia rejected threats of punishment, saying the kingdom would retaliate against any sanctions with "greater action", according to its official state news agency. "From where we sit, we don't see any demand for Saudi equities at all".

On Monday JP Morgan & Chase Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Motor Co Chairman Bill Ford said they canceled plans to attend Saudi "Future Investment Initiative" conference, joining a number of companies that pulled out over concerns about the disappearance Khashoggi.

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

US President Donald Trump said on Saturday there would be "severe punishment" for Saudi Arabia if it turned out that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.

The Saudi stock market lost $33bn (€28bn) of its value yesterday amid investor worries about deteriorating global relations, one of the first signs of the economic pain that Riyadh could suffer over the affair.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government and in particular Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

In a joint statement later Sunday, the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany said "light must be shed" on Khashoggi's disappearance.

"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".

Hours before the announcement, Tadawul exchange in Riyadh dropped by as much as 7 percent during the week's first day of trading, with 182 of its 186 listed stocks showing losses by the early afternoon. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed - a claim Saudi Arabia refuted - and the controversy has dealt a huge blow to the image of the kingdom and efforts by the youthful crown prince to showcase a reform drive. Describing the disappearance as a "terrible thing", Trump said the U.S. would find out what happened to Khashoggi. "We're going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial".

Khashoggi had been a press critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The White House's comments in this regard so far have been limited.

The US President said Friday he had not yet spoken with King Salman of Saudi Arabia - the father of bin Salman - in the wake of Khashoggi's reported killing, but that he planned to "pretty soon".

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