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Turks Search Far-Flung Sites and Question Workers in Case of Missing Journalist

Several of the Saudis named by Turks and shown in the leaked images have ties to Prince Mohammed, and Western intelligence officials say it is hard to imagine such an operation being carried out without his approval. One of the suspects, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a close aide to Prince Mohammed, knew Mr. Khashoggi and worked with him years ago, when they were both stationed by the Saudi government at the embassy in London, a mutual former colleague has said.

The disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, and grisly allegations about an assassination sanctioned at the highest levels of the Saudi hierarchy, have caused a diplomatic uproar, with Turkey appealing to its Western allies to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to say what happened.

Top officials of the American, British, French and Dutch governments, along with prominent corporate executives, withdrew from a Saudi investment conference next week in Riyadh, capital of the kingdom. Russian officials said on Friday that they would go ahead with plans to send more than 30 business leaders to the forum, after President Vladimir V. Putin expressed sympathy with the Saudis.

“Those who believe that there was a murder must present evidence,” Mr. Putin said on Thursday, at a foreign policy conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in Russia. He likened the allegations to the charge by Britain and its allies that Russian agents had used a nerve agent in a botched attempt to assassinate a Russian former spy in England, saying, “steps are taken against Russia, even sanctions, due to contrived reasons, without any proof.”

Mr. Kashoggi, whose 60th birthday was days after his disappearance, went to the consulate to obtain documentation of his divorce, so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée the next day.

He had been close to the Saudi royal family, acting as an informal spokesman for them and explaining the kingdom’s workings to a generation of diplomats and journalists. But he became a critic after Prince Mohammed consolidated power last year, and he moved to the United States, believing that even mild dissent would no longer be tolerated by the Saudi leadership.

Source: NYT > World

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