Richard Branson Halts Talks with Saudi Arabia over $1 Billion Investment in Virgin Group’s Space Ventures

British billionaire Richard Branson spoke to media on Thursday and said that his Virgin Airline group would be suspending all talks and discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over a $1 Billion investment in space ventures due to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi’s disappearance has shown signs of brutal policing by the Saudi government— something that has pretty much earmarked their Kingdom. The journalist, who was currently residing in Turkey, went missing after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for some personal reasons.

Officials in the U.S. and across the West have taken note of this disappearance and are waiting for proper proof before they can impose sanctions on the Saudi regime for such deplorable behavior.

Branson, however, made it clear before any confirmation that he would not move on with any deal with the Saudi’s if they are found involved in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

“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,” said Branson in a statement.

Branson also mentioned that he would immediately suspend his directorship of two Saudi tourism projects across the Red Sea, citing the disappearance of Khashoggi.

President of the United States, Donald Trump, has taken center stage in this issue and has mentioned that there are no concrete reports over Saudi involvement in the disappearance of the journalist. However, once those reports do come by, the United States won’t take time in imposing strict sanctions on the Saudi government.

Significant pressure has been mounted on the Saudis since Oct.2 when Khashoggi first went missing. He was last seen by camera footages outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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Benjamin Diaz

About the Author: Benjamin Diaz

Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.

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