Saudi Arabia preparing to admit Jamal Khashoggi died in consulate

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi

US President Donald Trump said on Monday "rogue killers" may have been behind the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and despatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case.

World Wrestling Entertainment's close ties to Saudi Arabia face scrutiny this week after the Middle Eastern nation's rumored involvement in the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate.

On Monday afternoon, CNN drew a similar picture of the Saudis' impending response, reporting that Riyadh would "acknowledge Jamal Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was meant to lead to his abduction from Turkey". CNN first reported that the Saudis were planning to admit Khashoggi died in the consulate.

Saudi officials have called the allegations "baseless", but reports in U.S. media on Tuesday suggested the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed there.

Trump on the other hand has been more circumspect, even suggesting that perhaps "rogue killers" were responsible for the suspected murder - a theory he proffered to journalists at the White House shortly after a phone call with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

He was an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime, and was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile.

"As long as there is no good evidence, the more plausible scenario is a shrewd cover story to protect Turkish sources & methods - a cover story that would predictably go viral".

"Something this big would definitely spook investors, and Saudi just opened up for foreign direct investment, so that was big", said Issam Kassabieh, a financial analyst at Dubai-based firm Menacorp Finance.

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Saudi Arabia said the men were tourists.

The 58-year-old journalist and Washington Post contributor has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate to gather documents for marriage last week.

Trump's warning drew an angry response on Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon.

He added that Khashoggi's disappearance had a "serious impact on the global economic attitude towards the kingdom".

President Trump warned the USA would inflict "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia was behind his disappearance. You talk to experts, and this is what they say. Video footage showed him arriving but not departing.

The controversy has troubled Saudi's traditional Western allies - who are key arms suppliers to the kingdom - and also undermined efforts by Mohamed bin Salman to present himself as a modernising ruler.

Meanwhile, more leading business figures say they will not attend a major investment conference in Riyadh later this month.

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jamie Dimon, had been a featured speaker at the conference in Riyadh.

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