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Report: Khashoggi assassins planes seized by MBS to get to Turkey

Members of Reporters Without Borders Organization stage a protest demanding justice for murdered Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Berlin, Germany on 1 October 2019. Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2, 2018, in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. [Abdülhamid Hoşbaş - Anadolu Agency]
Members of Reporters Without Borders Organization stage a protest demanding justice for murdered Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Berlin, Germany on 1 October 2019 [Abdülhamid Hoşbaş - Anadolu Agency]

Two planes used in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi were owned by a company seized by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) months before the journalist's death, CNN reports.

MBS reportedly ordered Sky Prime Aviation be taken over by the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by the Saudi crown and chaired by the crown prince.

The transfer was ordered by MBS in December 2017, less than a year before Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Planes owned by the company were later used in the plot to kill Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The documents came to light as part of an embezzlement lawsuit filed against former top Saudi intelligence official Saad Al-Jabri.

The allegations of embezzlement surfaced last year after Al-Jabri filed a lawsuit against MBS, accusing the crown prince of sending a team of hit men to Canada to kill him just days after Khashoggi's death.

MBS was served a summons via WhatsApp over the case, but never appeared in court. His lawyer requested the court dismiss the case at a hearing in December.

READ: Turkey arrests Iran consulate diplomat over dissident assassination case

Sky Prime Aviation operates the two Gulfstream corporate jets that flew most of the 15-man team of assassins to and from Istanbul, CNN reports.

According to the UN report cited by CNN, the pair of planes landed just before Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate.

The first plane, with the tail number HZ-SK1, took off only one hour and 15 minutes after landing, reportedly with six members of the Saudi hit team onboard, and flew via Cairo to Riyadh.

Less than five hours later, a further seven members of the team were flown out of Turkey to Riyadh via Dubai onboard the second plane, with the tail number HZ-SK2.

The last two members of the hit squad were flown from Istanbul to Riyadh on a commercial flight.

The revelation comes only days before the US intelligence community is expected to release a long-awaited report with new public details about the death of Khashoggi.

In the days after the journalist's death in October 2018, US intelligence officials claimed the Saudi crown prince was behind the killing but offered no evidence.

In June 2019, a United Nations investigator said it was "inconceivable" that MBS was not aware of the operation to take out Khashoggi.

MBS has denied he ordered Khashoggi's murder but has said he bears responsibility.

READ: US official discusses strategic defence ties with Saudi's MBS

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