Saudi Arabia offered money, marriage in Khashoggi effort to lure her to kingdom, wife says

More details have emerged in the assassination of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. | Olivier Douliery, Pool/Getty Images

The daughter of a former Saudi official, who was rumored to have been involved in the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, said the kingdom attempted to lure her to its consulate in Istanbul.

According to The Guardian, Sulayman Fawaz told an Associated Press reporter the Saudi government offered money and a fake marriage proposal to try to persuade her to move to the kingdom as part of a big campaign to clean up corruption.

She rejected the offer as too inconvenient and suggested to the Middle East Eye website that the Saudi effort was similar to the post-Brexit offer she rejected after she worked in the organization’s office in London.

“I didn’t believe what he was saying,” Fawaz told the outlet. “I asked him if this is real. He said, ‘Yes, everything is real.'”

Saudi Arabia has denied the claims and Fawaz did not name Saudi officials who offered her money and proposed a fake marriage. However, in a television interview last month, her brother, Khaled Fawaz, also confirmed his sister had been offered money as part of an effort to lure her to Saudi Arabia.

“They called my sister and offered her money. They said: ‘We’re going to have a partnership with you in Saudi Arabia. You can have a really good job,’” he told The Guardian. “It was completely stupid.”

Fawaz did not comment on the reported claims that Saudi officials lured her to Istanbul by targeting her family. However, the Saudi press office denied Fawaz’s charges in a statement to The Guardian.

Fawaz described her ordeal as having been a “nightmare.” She said Saudi officials tried to convince her to move to Saudi Arabia for money and a fake marriage.

“They asked me to marry. They told me a woman was living in a house in India, and they asked me to marry her,” she said. “We weren’t allowed to talk to each other. We wouldn’t talk about anything. They used to always call my phone, at least once in the morning and once in the evening.”

Fawaz added that she did not go to Istanbul because she had been with her boyfriend in Madrid while visiting her family in Saudi Arabia. She said she had once visited the United States.

Saudi officials identified five people who allegedly died after an altercation with police in Istanbul’s consulate. Turkish authorities suspect those officials were executed by Saudi operatives working on behalf of the crown prince.

Billionaire businessman H.R. McMaster — former national security adviser to President Trump — told the BBC that the kingdom will have to release additional information “in order to prove that this was a rogue operation.”

“So the question that America will want answered is, does this rule out, in fact, any involvement of officials in Saudi Arabia, including those close to the crown prince, in planning, or in carrying out this plan?” he added.

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