Softbank 'anxiously' monitoring Saudi Arabia situation - executive

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A Turkish diplomatic source said investigators would inspect the consulate this afternoon, following delays last week when the two countries agreed to work together to find out what happened to Mr Khashoggi.

Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old crown prince of Saudi Arabia who leads the country's Public Investment Fund, has pledged $45bn to SoftBank's Vision Fund, making it one of the most significant stakeholders in the Japanese investment vehicle.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was last heard from on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That includes the CEO of Uber, a company in which Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars, as well as billionaire Richard Branson.

"To help clarify recently issued Saudi statement, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends its appreciation to all, including the U.S. administration, for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation", the statement said.

They said there must be a credible investigation to establish the truth and "if relevant" identify those responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance. "We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities", the statement added.

In a column published just after the SPA statement, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel's general manager Turki Aldakhil warned that imposing sanctions on the world's largest oil exporter could spark global economic disaster.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday declined to confirm whether US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would still be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference being hosted by the Saudi Crown Prince - known as "Davos in the desert" - later this month.

"His voice was a headache for the Saudi government", said Abdulaziz.

Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and a USA resident, disappeared on 2 October after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and lurid claims have been leaked to media that he was tortured and even dismembered, but Saudi Arabia insists he left the building safely.

Turkey says it believes he was killed inside, telling USA officials that it has audio and video recordings from his final moments to prove it. Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied having anything to do with the disappearance.

Investment in sport has proved a viable option for those two oil-rich gulf states looking to project soft power and improve the global prestige of their nations overseas and, it's claimed, Saudi Arabia are set to look to do the same.