Changing story again, Saudi Arabia says killing was planned

Win McNamee  Getty Images North America

The Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) rose 4.3 percent to close trading on the last day of the week on 7,835.54 points.

Members of Sri Lankan web journalist association hold placards during a protest condemning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka October 25, 2018.

TASI, the largest Arab bourse, is 8.4 percent higher on the year.

After first insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities said he was killed in an argument that degenerated into a brawl, then admitted he was murdered before finally accepting what Turkey had said earlier - that he was killed in a premeditated hit. "As such, we will be transparent and show our allies and friends in the United States. that the kingdom is as unhappy about what has happened as anybody else", he told CNN on the sidelines of an investment conference in the capital Riyadh.

Addressing the conference on live television, the crown prince called the murder "a heinous crime that can not be justified". "It's a sensitive subject, and our statement said all we want to say about that subject today".

CIA Director Gina Haspel has reportedly listened to the audio recording of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi's alleged interrogation, torture and murder, The Post reported.

Saudi Arabia at first denied any involvement in Khashoggi's death but a Saudi official eventually attributed it to a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom.

At the same time, Trump and his top advisers have repeatedly said the broader U.S. -Saudi relationship shouldn't be ruptured over the killing of Khashoggi, a 59-year-old U.S. -based critic of the Saudi government.

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Saudi Arabia initially maintained that Khashoggi, who had been writing critical columns in The Washington Post, had left the consulate alive on October 2.

King Salman, who has delegated the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to his son MbS, on Saturday ordered a restructuring of the general intelligence agency.

Turkey did not have "any desire" to take the case to an worldwide court, he added, but would be willing to share information and the outcomes of its investigation.

"Even if US President Trump saves [Mohammed bin] Salman, in the eyes of the world, he is a questionable person with Khashoggi's blood on his hands", Cevik wrote.

Richard Branson temporarily suspended his partnership with Saudi Arabia in a potential space tourism venture via Virgin Galactic that included a promised $1 billion investment from the Saudi government.

Turkey has long dismissed the Saudi assertion of an accidental death and has pressed the kingdom to concede that Khashoggi was deliberately targeted for death.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said on Wednesday: "It's not a death, it's a murder".

Erdogan called it a "brutal" murder.

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