CCTV images have emerged showing a Saudi intelligence officer dressed in a fake beard and Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and glasses on the day the journalist disappeared.
The man was captured on surveillance cameras leaving the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and walking around the city on October 2.
He is said to have been part of the 15-man Saudi team wanted for questioning over the death of journalist Khashoggi. The footage is believed to have been taken just hours after the writer was last seen alive entering the embassy.
The official in the clip has been named as Mustafa al-Madani, according to CNN, which said it had spoken to a senior Turkish official. The same man was seen in the writer’s clothing at the city’s Blue Mosque just hours after Khashoggi’s disappearance, Turkish investigators say.
Reports in Turkey have claimed the Saudi team accosted Khashoggi in the building, cut off his fingers, killed and dismembered the 59-year-old writer.
CCTV images have emerged showing a Saudi intelligence officer dressed in a fake beard and Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and glasses (left) on the day the journalist disappeared
The footage is said to have been taken just hours after the writer was last seen alive entering the embassy (pictured)
Turkish officials say the Saudi team accosted Khashoggi (pictured) in the embassy, cut off his fingers, killed and dismembered the 59-year-old writer
A CCTV image purportedly showing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi and his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz at an apartment building in Istanbul, Turkey, just hours before his death in the Saudi Arabian Consulate
A car belonging to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was found in the Sultangazi district of the city today. Pictured is the man thought to have dumped the car
It comes as Turkish media reported that a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage made four calls to the royal’s office from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul the day Jamal Khashoggi was killed there.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb made the calls to Bader al-Asaker, the head of the Crown Prince’s office with another going to the United States, according to Yeni Safak.
In a separate report, the same website claimed Prince Mohammed himself spoke to Khashoggi by phone to ask him to return to Riyadh shortly before the writer was murdered.
The website claims that Khashoggi refused, fearing he would be arrested and killed in Saudi Arabia. After this, it is claimed, the writer was murdered in the consulate.
As a probe into the death continued today,
- A leading Turkish politician said Khashoggi’s murder was planned in a ‘savage manner’
- A car belonging to the Saudi consulate was found in Istanbul’s Sultangazi district and will be searched for traces of the writer
- Britain’s former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said it was clear Khashoggi’s death ‘was authorised at the highest level’
- An adviser to Turkish President Erdogan dismissed claims Khashoggi died in a ‘fist fight’
- Britain called for urgent clarification of the circumstances surrounding the journalist’s death
- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman called Khashoggi’s son, Salah, to express their condolences
- The kingdom’s foreign minister admitted the writer was murdered but that the killing was a ‘tremendous mistake’ by a ‘rogue operation’
- White House adviser Jared Kushner said the US is still in a ‘fact-finding’ phase
- Top business executives and global officials continued to drop out of a Saudi investment conference dubbed ‘Davos in the Desert’
- The website for the summit was hacked to show the Crown Prince appearing to behead Khashoggi
Today, CNN aired surveillance footage showing a man in Khashoggi’s dress shirt, suit jacket and trousers. He was also seen wearing a fake beard suggesting the operation was likely pre-planned. Earlier at the city’s airport and while entering the embassy, Madani was seen with just a moustache.
CNN cited a Turkish official as describing the man as a ‘body double’ and a member of the Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target the writer. The official said that ‘Khashoggi’s clothes were probably still warm when Madani put them on.’
Madani was seen at the city’s airport earlier that day with just a moustache (pictured)
The man in the footage is seen walking out of the consulate via its back exit with an accomplice, then taking a taxi to Istanbul’s famed Sultan Ahmed Mosque, where he went into a public bathroom, changed back out of the clothes and left.
The state-run broadcaster TRT later also reported that a man who entered the consulate building was seen leaving the building in Khashoggi’s clothes.
In the days after Khashoggi vanished, Saudi officials initially said that he had left the consulate, implying premeditation on the part of the Saudi team.
‘After Turkish authorities and the media were allowed to inspect the consulate building in its entirety, the accusations changed to the outrageous claim that he was murdered, in the consulate, during business hours, and with dozens of staff and visitors in the building,’ Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Khalid bin Salman, a brother of the crown prince, wrote on October 8. ‘I don’t know who is behind these claims, or their intentions, nor do I care frankly.’
A senior Saudi official has already said that one of the 15-strong team dressed up in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.
The official said operative Madani also wore Khashoggi’s glasses and Apple watch and left through the back door.
He said the journalist had been placed in a chokehold during which he accidentally died – and then his body was smuggled out of the building in a rolled-up carpet.
The footage also shows Madani wearing his own blue and white checked shirt and dark trousers
A car belonging to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was found in the Sultangazi district of the city today. Broadcaster NTV and other local media said that police would search the vehicle
Turkish forensics enter an underground car park which was cordoned off by Turkish police today, after they found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate
Police said they will be searching the car, which was discovered three weeks after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Prime Minister Theresa May pictured in parliament today where she said: ‘I am sure the whole House will join me in condemning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the strongest possible terms. We must get to the truth of what happened.’
On Friday the kingdom admitted Mr Khashoggi was dead after repeatedly claiming the high-profile critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had walked out of the consulate unharmed.
It said the journalist was killed in a ‘fist fight’ and that the government had fired five top officials and arrested 18 others as a result of the initial investigation.
Yesterday Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News: ‘Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this.’ He added: ‘We don’t know where the body is.’
It came after a senior Saudi official, who requested anonymity, contradicted previous explanations. He said the team of 15 Saudis sent to confront Mr Khashoggi on October 2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped, and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted.
Madani then donned Mr Khashoggi’s clothes, glasses and Apple watch before leaving the building to make it look like the journalist had left, it was claimed.
The body was then rolled up in a rug, taken out in a consular vehicle and given to a ‘local co-operator’ for disposal, he added. Forensic expert Salah Tubaigy tried to remove any trace of the incident, the official said.
Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, (pictured) said he had handed her his two mobile phones and left instructions that she should wait for him and call an aide to Turkey’s president if he did not reappear
Turkish media reported that a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage made four calls to the royal’s office from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul the day Jamal Khashoggi (pictured) was killed there
Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir (pictured) insisted on Sunday that Prince Mohammed was ‘not aware’ of the killing and that the regime was still working on finding the body
Madani later went to the Sultanahmet district where he disposed of Mr Khashoggi’s belongings, it was claimed. Asked about claims the journalist had been tortured and beheaded, the official said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest so.
The government wanted to convince Mr Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views, to return to the kingdom as part of a campaign to prevent dissidents from being recruited by Saudi Arabia’s enemies, the official said.
But things soon went wrong as the team overstepped their orders and quickly employed violence, he added.
Did Saudi team take part of Khashoggi’s body with them?
Turkish officials fear part of Jamal Khashoggi’s body was transported out of the country by one of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s bodyguards, it has been claimed.
Middle East Eye says it has been told by sources that one member of the 15-strong team of Saudis who flew to Turkey on the day of the journalist’s disappearance may have taken the body part out in a bag.
The intelligence officer, named as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, was seen boarding a private jet in Istanbul on October 2 at 6.20pm and ‘appeared to be in a hurry’, according to the source.
The unverified claims come amid reports that Khashoggi was cut into pieces after entering the Saudi embassy in the city on the same day.
Mutreb was a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on trips to the United States, France and Spain this year.
It was claimed Mr Khashoggi told one of the men, Maher Mutreb, that he was violating diplomatic norms and said: ‘What are you going to do with me? Do you intend to kidnap me?’ Mutreb replied, ‘Yes, we will drug you and kidnap you,’ in what the official said was an attempt at intimidation that violated the mission’s objective. When Mr Khashoggi raised his voice, the team panicked. They moved to restrain him, placing him in a chokehold and covering his mouth, according to the government’s account.
‘They tried to prevent him from shouting but he died,’ the official said. ‘The intention was not to kill him.’
Asked if the team had smothered Mr Khashoggi, the official explained: ‘If you put someone of Jamal’s age in this position, he would probably die.’
The official said the team then wrote a false report for superiors saying they had allowed Mr Khashoggi to leave once he warned that Turkish authorities could get involved.
The Saudi authorities initially dismissed reports that Mr Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering. When the Press reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations ‘baseless’.
Turkish officials believe the Saudis may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest near Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, 55 miles south of Istanbul.
Yesterday Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would reveal the ‘naked truth’ about the killing at a briefing tomorrow.
And this afternoon, Turkey’s ruling party spokesman Omer Celik said Khashoggi’s murder inside Riyadh’s consulate was planned in a ‘savage manner’.
Prince Mohammed has denied involvement with the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was a fierce critic of his policies
On Friday the kingdom admitted Mr Khashoggi was dead after repeatedly claiming the high-profile critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured) had walked out of the consulate unharmed
Top executives and officials pull out of Saudi’s ‘Davos in the Desert’
Top business executives, U.S. and European officials and others have continued to distance themselves from Saudi Arabia over the disappearance and killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Many have cancelled their attendance at this week’s investment conference that the kingdom had hoped to use to boost its global image.
With reports circulating of the writer’s torture and killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, executives who have been doing business with Saudi Arabia for years are in damage control mode.
What was at first a trickle of cancellations from the Saudi event, due to be held in Riyadh Tuesday through Thursday, later snowballed.
The Future Investment Initiative was set up last year as a kind of ‘Davos in the Desert’ for the world’s business elite to network, though it has no ties to the annual World Economic Forum summit in Davos. Saudi employees are pictured printing badges of participants in Riyadh today
The Future Investment Initiative was set up last year as a kind of ‘Davos in the Desert’ for the world’s business elite to network, though it has no ties to the annual World Economic Forum summit in Davos.
At last year’s inaugural event, Saudi Arabia announced the creation of a whole new city in the desert that would showcase new technologies, such as renewable energies.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been trying to refocus the Saudi economy away from its traditional reliance on oil by investing in more innovative industries, including big firms like Uber.
The scale of the executives’ cancellations, however, had raised questions whether the event would go ahead – and how that could affect longer-term business relations with Saudi Arabia.
Executives and officials who have cancelled their attendance at the event:
-U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin;
-JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon;
-Blackrock CEO Larry Fink;
-MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga;
-HSBC CEO John Flint;
-Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser;
-Standard Chartered CEO William Winters;
-London Stock Exchange CEO David Schwimmer;
-Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford;
-Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi;
-Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong;
-New York Times Columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin;
-Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene;
-Former AOL CEO Steve Case;
-International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde;
-Virgin Group founder Richard Branson;
-Thrive CEO Arianna Huffington;
-World Bank President Jim Yong Kim;
-French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire;
-Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra;
-Britain’s trade minister, Liam Fox;
Companies that withdrew as media partners to the conference:
-New York Times;
Other organizations that have also cut ties with the Saudis in the wake of the Khashoggi case:
-The Glover Park Group, The Harbour Group: Washington lobbying firms no longer representing Saudi Arabia;
-Middle East Institute: Washington think tank to no longer take Saudi donations;
‘This was planned in an extremely savage manner, and we are faced with a situation where there has been a lot of effort to whitewash this,’ he said.
It was the first official indication that Ankara believes a murder plan was coordinated in advance.
One of Erdogan’s advisors, Yasin Aktay, wrote in the Yeni Safak daily that the Saudi version given so far ‘feels like our intelligence is being mocked’.
Turkish pro-government media kept up a steady stream of allegations, which analysts see as a tactic to increase the pressure on Riyadh by showing the evidence Turkey possesses.
Abdulkadir Selvi, whose Hurriyet newspaper columns are closely watched for indications of Erdogan’s thinking, wrote that Khashogghi was slowly strangled to death for eight minutes and a Saudi forensic specialist then cut his body into 15 pieces while listening to music.
‘We cannot close this file until the crown prince is brought to account and removed from his post. For 50 years we cannot live with a crown prince who is an enemy of Turkey,’ said Selvi.
Meanwhile with Khashoggi’s remains still missing, Turkish police found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate in an underground car park in the Sultangazi district of Istanbul, state media said.
The website for Saudi Arabia’s ‘Davos in the desert’ summit was hacked on Monday to show Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appearing to behead Jamal Khashoggi.
Erdogan has stopped short of directly pointing the finger at Riyadh. Analysts say he preferred to authorise the leak of incriminating information to pro-government media to pressure the kingdom.
He has twice held telephone talks with King Salman on the crisis, with some analysts arguing Erdogan was seeking to preserve Turkish-Saudi relations through the ageing monarch while sidelining his headstrong son Prince Mohammed.
It comes as a car belonging to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was found in the Sultangazi district of the city. Broadcaster NTV and other local media said that police would search the vehicle.
Meanwhile, Saudi state media reported that both Prince Mohammed and King Salman made calls to Khashoggi’s son, Salah, early on Monday morning. Statements from the agency said both the king and the crown prince expressed their condolences for Khashoggi’s death.
A Saudi friend of Khashoggi who was in frequent touch with him before his death told the AP that Salah Khashoggi had been under a travel ban and barred from leaving the kingdom since last year as a result of his father’s criticism of the government. The friend spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussion. The Saudi statements did not acknowledge the ban.
More than two weeks after Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offered their condolences to his family. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released this official image to announce the news
As pressure mounted on Saudi Arabia today, the website for Saudi Arabia’s ‘Davos in the desert’ summit was hacked to show Crown Prince Mohammed appearing to behead Jamal Khashoggi.
It came after a wave of corporate giants and policymakers distanced themselves from the Future Investment Initiative, due to begin in Riyadh on Tuesday.
Five Turkish employees of the Istanbul consulate, meanwhile, also gave testimonies to prosecutors on Monday, Turkish media reported.
Istanbul’s chief prosecutor had summoned 28 more staff members of the Saudi Consulate, including Turkish citizens and foreign nationals, to give testimony. Some Turkish employees reportedly said they were instructed not to go to work around the time that Khashoggi disappeared.
It comes amid reports that Turkish police fear the alleged ‘hit squad’ suspected of killing Khashoggi will be executed before investigators can reveal what really happened in the embassy.
According to the Middle East Eye, police fear the suspects will be rounded up and killed before they have the chance to question them.
Merkel: No arms for Riyadh while questions remain over killing
Germany will not export arms to Saudi Arabia while the current uncertainty over the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi persists, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.
Campaigning for her party in a regional election, Merkel repeated to a news conference her earlier condemnation of Khashoggi’s killing, which Saudi Arabia admitted had taken place inside its consulate in Istanbul.
‘First, we condemn this act in the strongest terms,’ she said. ‘Second, there is an urgent need to clarify what happened – we are far from this having been cleared up and those responsible held to account … As far as arms exports are concerned, those can’t take place in the current circumstances.’
Today, a top German official pressed for a joint EU position on Saudi Arabia after Berlin backed a freeze on arms exports to the kingdom.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier underlined Monday its position that ‘we won’t at this point approve any further arms exports because we want to know what happened.’
Altmaier told ZDF television that a joint EU position is needed ‘because only if all European countries agree, this will make an impression on the government in Riyadh.’
He said ‘it will have no positive consequences if we, as we are doing, currently don’t pursue our arms exports if at the same time other countries fill this gap.’
In the US, leading Republicans and Democrats in Congress are saying Saudi Arabia should face punishment over Khashoggi’s killing.
President Donald Trump also had talked about possible punishment but said he didn’t want to halt proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia because, he maintained, it would harm U.S. manufacturers.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son in law, said the US is still in a ‘fact-finding’ phase.
Asked about the credibility of a Saudi investigation of the killing that took place in their Istanbul consulate, Kushner told CNN: ‘We’re getting facts in from multiple places.’
Britain, Germany and France issued a joint statement condemning the killing of Khashoggi, saying there is an ‘urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened.’
In a statement Sunday, the governments said attacks on journalists are unacceptable and ‘of utmost concern to our three nations.’ They said the ‘hypotheses’ proposed so far in the Saudi investigation need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday that she supports a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier underlined that point Monday, calling for a joint European position as Germany ‘won’t at this point approve any further arms exports because we want to know what happened.’
Britain on Monday called for urgent clarification of the circumstances surrounding the death today.
‘There remains an urgent need for clarification of what happened beyond the hypotheses raised so far in the Saudi investigation,’ Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters.
Mrs May said in parliament: ‘I am sure the whole House will join me in conndemning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the strongest possible terms. We must get to the truth of what happened.’
Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, a senior Cabinet minister during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was clear the death of Mr Khashoggi ‘was authorised at the highest level’.
He warned Western states against repeating the mistakes of the 1970s when they ignored the Shah of Iran’s human rights abuses before the 1979 Islamic revolution saw him overthrown and replaced with a hardline regime.
‘I don’t think you are going to have a revolution in Saudi Arabia but Mohammed Bin Salman is himself the architect of impending instability in Saudi Arabia and, yes, I think a deliberate aspect of the policy of the UK and the other European states, as well as hopefully the US, should be to weaken his power because this man has taken unto himself huge arbitrary power and made himself and Saudi Arabia potentially very unstable,’ Mr Straw said.
Current shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has long pushed for arms sales to Saudi Arabia to be halted.
She told Today: ‘These are supposed to be our friends. It’s up to them to change their behaviour, it’s up to us to stand up to them and it is up to us to make it clear that we do not accept this behaviour and they need to change their ways.’