Slain Saudi journalist's children given houses, payouts: Officials

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Istanbul last year, was targeted for articles that were often critical of the Saudi leadership. Saudi King Salman (front, right), with his son Crown Prince Mohammed Salman beside him, meeting family membe
Saudi King Salman (front, right), with his son Crown Prince Mohammed Salman beside him, meeting family members of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Riyadh last October.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Istanbul last year, was targeted for articles that were often critical of the Saudi leadership. Saudi King Salman (front, right), with his son Crown Prince Mohammed Salman beside him, meeting family membe
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Istanbul last year, was targeted for articles that were often critical of the Saudi leadership.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • The children of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have received million-dollar houses in the kingdom and monthly five-figure payments as compensation for the killing of their father, according to current and former Saudi officials as well as people close to the family.

Mr Khashoggi's two sons and two daughters may also receive much larger payouts - possibly tens of millions of dollars apiece - as part of "blood money" negotiations that are expected to ensue when the trials of Mr Khashoggi's accused killers are completed in the coming months, according to the officials and others who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The previously undisclosed payments are part of an effort by Saudi Arabia to reach a long-term arrangement with Khashoggi family members, aimed in part at ensuring that they continue to show restraint in their public statements about the killing of their father by Saudi operatives in Istanbul six months ago, the officials said.

The Khashoggi siblings have refrained from any harsh criticism of the kingdom, even as their father's death provoked widespread condemnation of the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed Salman.

The delivery of homes and monthly payments of US$10,000 (S$13,600) or more to each sibling were approved late last year by King Salman as part of what one former official described as an acknowledgement that "a big injustice has been done".

But the royal family is also relying on its wealth to help contain the ongoing fallout from the killing and dismemberment of the prominent Saudi journalist, who was targeted for articles that were often critical of the Saudi government.

A Saudi official described the payments as being consistent with the country's long-standing practice of providing financial support to victims of violent crime or even natural disasters, and rejected the suggestion that the Khashoggi family would be obligated to remain silent.

As part of their preliminary settlement, the Khashoggi children were each given houses in Jeddah worth as much as US$4 million apiece. The properties are part of a shared compound in which Mr Salah Khashoggi, the eldest son, occupies the main structure.

A banker in Jeddah, Mr Salah is the only Khashoggi sibling who intends to continue living in Saudi Arabia, according to people close to the family. The others reside in the United States and are expected to sell their new Saudi properties.

Saudi officials have yet to explain what happened to Mr Khashoggi's body.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Slain Saudi journalist's children given houses, payouts: Officials'. Print Edition | Subscribe