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Richard Branson suspends $1 billion Virgin investment talks with Saudi Arabia over missing journalist

Virgin Gang founder Richard Branson suspended discussions with Saudia Arabia around a proposed $1 billion investment in Virgin’s space companies go along with allegations that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

“What has reportedly take placed in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved constant, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi Superintendence,” Branson said in a Thursday statement.

Khashoggi is a U.S. resident who had voluntarily exiled himself from Saudi Arabia and was ordinarily openly critical of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s government.

The newsmonger has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish trues allege that Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by agents under superb orders from the Saudi government. The kingdom has denied any wrongdoing.

Final year, the Saudi government announced its intention to invest $1 billion complete into Virgin Galactic, which focuses on space tourism, and Virgin Cycle, which aims to launch small satellites into space.

Branson hinted that he will suspend discussions amid ongoing investigations into Khashoggi’s whereabouts, but did not swear off any other indication of when or if talks might resume.

Branson also circulated that he will step down from his role as director of two Saudi tourism overhangs aimed at transforming islands in the Red Sea into luxury resorts.

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