Saudi stocks fall as tension with United States increases over Khashoggi case

Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Monday ordered an internal probe into the unexplained disappearance of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a joint Turkish-Saudi team was set to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen on October 2.

Prince Khaled al-Faisal, a senior member of Saudi Arabia's ruling family and adviser to King Salman, has met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to discuss Khashoggi's disappearance, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. Last week, Saudi Arabia allowed Turkey to search its consulate in Istanbul.

"With misgivings emerging about Saudi involvement in the journalist's disappearance, SoftBank's stock price is responding negatively", said Takashi Oikawa, an analyst at Ichiyoshi Securities.

According to his fiancee, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul and never came out.

"There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and - if relevant - to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account", the three European powers said on Sunday.

In a statement Sunday on the official Saudi Press Agency attributed to "an official", the kingdom rejected any threats of economic sanctions or political pressure and said it would "respond with greater action".

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The incident is threatening to spark a geopolitical crisis as the US and Turkey demand answers from Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom vows to retaliate against any punitive measures imposed over the critic's fate.

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. The Saudi stock market dropped by 7% on Sunday after Trump threatened of "severe punishment" which spooked investors.

In an interview scheduled to air today, Mr Trump told CBS' 60 Minutes that Saudi Arabia would face strong consequences if involved in Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

Saudi Arabia, which provided much of the funding for the SoftBank Vision Fund, is seeing a growing number of attendees pull out of the "Davos in the Desert" investment conference after the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist.

Where is Jamal Khashoggi?... Turkey believes he was deliberately killed inside the building and his body removed. "We're going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment".

Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz said that the reports are "lies and baseless allegations against the government of the Kingdom", reported CNN.