RIYADH — Saudi Arabia finally acknowledged on Thursday that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been premeditated, and not the result of a fistfight gone wrong. It was the latest twist in a saga that has seen the kingdom change its official story countless times in a three week span.
On the same day, the Saudi government wrapped up its Future Investment Initiative, boasting that it had secured more than $60 billion in new investments, welcomed 3,500 attendees from around the world and heard from 120 different speakers — including the man at the center of it all: Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
The message here was clear: it’s business as usual, despite dozens of public big-name drop outs following Khashoggi’s murder.
VICE News was banned from filming in Riyadh, including at the FII, but financial analyst Mohammed al-Suwayed attended the event. He didn’t seem so worried about the big names notably not in attendance. "I don't think the economy will be impacted [by] any of the crises at the moment," he told VICE News.
Suwayed more or less echoed the kingdom’s official stance, which insists that Saudi Arabia is politically stable despite the Khashoggi murder, and that it will become an even more attractive prospect for investors compared to the rest of the Middle East as it diversifies its economy.
This segment originally aired Oct. 25, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
Cover image: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via Reuters.