ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s government has told U.S. officials it has audio and video proof that missing Saudi Arabian writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The newspaper, for which Khashoggi is a columnist, cited anonymous officials as saying the recordings show a Saudi security team detained the writer when he went to the consulate on Oct. 2 to pick up a document for his upcoming wedding.
The Associated Press was not immediately able to confirm the report, and Turkish officials would not comment.
A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey Friday as part of an investigation into the writer’s disappearance, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu said.
Saudi Arabia has called the allegation it abducted or harmed Khashoggi “baseless.” However, it has offered no evidence to support its claim he left the consulate and vanished despite his fiance waiting outside.
Anadolu Agency said the delegation would hold talks with Turkish officials over the weekend. It did not provide further details.
On Thursday, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey and Saudi Arabia would form a “joint working group” to look into Khashoggi’s disappearance.
The 59-year-old journalist, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family, had became a critic of the current government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old heir apparent who has introduced reforms but shown little tolerance for criticism.
Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year. As a contributor to the Washington Post, he has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticism of its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women’s rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.
Those policies are all seen as initiatives of the crown prince, who has also presided over a roundup of activists and businessmen.
British billionaire Richard Branson on Friday suspended business links with Saudi Arabia, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he might not attend a major investment conference in the country this month amid reports that Jamal Khashoggi may have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s capital.
“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 in a statement.
Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says he will suspend his role as director in two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia while an investigation takes place. He also is putting on hold discussions about a proposed Saudi investment in space companies Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.
Saudi Arabia is facing increasing international pressure to clarify what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, with U.S. President Donald Trump and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt among those demanding answers.
Khosrowshahi is scheduled to speak at the Future Investment Initiative conference, and event loosely nicknamed the “Davos of the Desert” that takes place Oct. 23-25 in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
“I’m very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi,” Khosrowshahi said. “We are following the situation closely, and unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won’t be attending the FII conference in Riyadh.”
The investment conference lists dozens of expected speakers, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Blackrock Chairman Larry Fink and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the latter confirming Friday that he will go.
“I am planning on going at this point,” he told broadcaster CNBC. “If more information comes out and changes, we could look at that.”
Joe Kaeser, the president and CEO of German industrial giant Siemens AG, also still plans to attend for now.
The Financial Times, which is listed as a media partner to the event, announced it would no longer be doing so.
“The Financial Times will not be partnering with the FII conference in Riyadh while the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi remains unexplained,” Finola McDonnell, the head of communications, said in a tweet.
CNN canceled its partnership, and said its anchors and reporters would no longer moderate panels. The New York Times and its business columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin similarly pulled out of the event. CNBC also said Friday it would not participate.
A list of confirmed speakers was later removed from the site of the event.
David Rising in Berlin and Jon Gambrell in Dubai contributed to this report.