Khashoggi murder: Audio recordings hint Saudi Prince involvement

Trudeau Confirms Canadian Intelligence Heard Audio Tapes of Khashoggi Murder

Ankara has shared voice recordings linked to the murder with a number of countries including Saudi Arabia as well as the United States and its Western allies.

Khashoggi, a critic of de facto Saudi ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate last month in a hit which Erdogan says was ordered at the "highest levels" of the Saudi government.

But Turkish officials say they played them the recordings but did not hand them over. Indeed when the Saudi intelligence officer listened to the recordings he was so shocked he said: 'This one must have taken heroin, only someone who takes who heroin would do this, ' he added.

"That's not the conclusion that I think the people who heard it have come to", Bolton said at a press briefing in Singapore, adding that he hadn't listened to the tape himself, the Washington Post reported.

Bolton shares with Saudi Arabia a hawkish stance against Riyadh's biggest Middle East rival Iran, and he championed Washington's resumption of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. "Only someone who took heroin would do it, '" President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak.

Turkish intelligence believes Mutreb was speaking to one of the prince's aides and also used words to the effect that "the deed was done".

Earlier on Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Paris was not in possession of recordings related to Khashoggi's killings, apparently contradicting Erdogan's remarks.

"The first step in that process - not the only step but the first step in that process is to make sure there is proper accountability for the people who were responsible, both the people who committed the act but also the people who gave the orders for the act".

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According to comments published in Hurriyet newspaper, Erdogan said a Saudi intelligence office who listened to the audio was "shocked" and commented that those involved must have been on drugs. More recently, a government source familiar with the matter said Qahtani featured prominently throughout the recordings. Qahtani has wielded that influence over the last three years, with his authority growing alongside that of the young prince.

USA officials have speculated that such a mission - including the 15 men sent from Riyadh - could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman, heir apparent to the Saudi throne.

He also supervised the brief detention, humiliation and beating of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri previous year.

This view has been reinforced by the shifting account of Riyadh from having first saying that Khashoggi had left the embassy then admitting that he had been killed in a fist fight then finally concluding that there was indeed an operation to silence the Saudi critic by killing him. Reuters could not immediately verify the Sabah report.

Erdogan has not given details of the contents of the tapes but two sources with knowledge of the issue have said that Turkey has several audio recordings.

People who've heard a recording of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi's murder don't believe it implicates Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said, weighing in on a controversy that has sharply raised worldwide pressure on the top oil exporter.

After Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its Istanbul consulate, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including bin Salman's media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service.


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