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Uber CEO says he was wrong to call Khashoggi killing a ‘mistake’

Photos of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest demanding the finding of his body from the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia, in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, United Kingdom [Nevzat Yıldırım/Anadolu Agency]
Photos of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest demanding the finding of his body from the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia, in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, United Kingdom [Nevzat Yıldırım/Anadolu Agency]

Uber’s chief executive said on Monday the murder by Saudi Arabia, a major investor in his company, of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year could not be excused and that he was wrong to have described the killing as a “serious mistake”, reports Reuters.

Dara Khosrowshahi was backtracking from comments he made in an interview with “Axios on HBO” aired earlier in which he compared the Washington Post columnist’s murder by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate to a fatality caused by one of his company’s self-driving cars.

READ: 20 global firms pull out as Trump tries to salvage ties with Saudi

“It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too, with self-driving, and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake,” Khosrowshahi said in the interview. “So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously…”

Khosrowshahi later said on Twitter: “There’s no forgiving or forgetting what happened to Jamal Khashoggi & I was wrong to call it a ‘mistake.'”

“I said something in the moment I don’t believe. Our investors have long known my views here & I’m sorry I wasn’t as clear on Axios.”

1 year after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder MBS has nothing to be worried about – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Khashoggi’s killing sparked a global uproar, tarnishing the image of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The CIA and some Western governments have said they believe the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Prince Mohammed has denied that but said he bore ultimate responsibility as the country’s de facto leader.

Asked about the CIA’s assessment of the crown prince’s involvement, Khosrowshahi said: “I didn’t read that part of the CIA report … but I think from a Saudi perspective, they’re just like any other shareholder.”

Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF acquired a 5% stake in Uber in 2016 worth $3.5 billion. Its chairman sits on the board.

OPINION: In post-Khashoggi Saudi Arabia, there is a chance to fill a moral void

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