Famed British billionaire Richard Branson announced he is suspending his recent business dealings with Saudi Arabia after the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist.
Pressure has mounted on Saudi Arabia since Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi policies, went missing. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 October. Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate.
Khashoggi is a US resident who wrote columns for the Washington Post, owned by Amazon.com (AMZN) founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.
Branson said on Thursday he was suspending talks with Saudi Arabia’s massive sovereign investment fund over a potential investment in his space companies Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit. The fund had been considering a $1bn investment.
“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,” Branson said.