Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle ‘heartbreaking’ – Khashoggi’s fiancee

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Late Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee says the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United is heartbreaking

The fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has said the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of Newcastle United is “heartbreaking” for her.

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Western intelligence agencies believe the crown prince ordered the murder – which he denies.

“I am very disappointed,” said Hatice Cengiz, who was set to marry Khashoggi.

“What I’ve been doing since his murder is seeking justice for Jamal every day, every chance that I found or every place I can go and ask more.

Jamal Khashoggi was reportedly killed two hours after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey
Jamal Khashoggi was killed two hours after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey

“Then suddenly, I saw the news and people were talking about the takeover and I said ‘please, do not do that, please be respectful to yourself’.”

The Premier League approved the £305m takeover of Newcastle after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state would not control the club.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), of which Mohammed bin Salman is the chair, will provide 80% of funds for the deal and is seen as separate to the state.

The Saudi Arabian state has been accused of human rights abuses, but with the majority owner PIF deemed a separate entity, that, and any piracy issues, were no longer an impediment to the takeover, in the Premier League’s view.

‘Newcastle fans just care about the club’s financial future’

PIF have assets of £250bn, making Newcastle one of the richest clubs in the world, but Cengiz said she wanted to remind supporters that there are more important things than the club’s financial health.

Newcastle United
Newcastle United

“It seems like they [Newcastle fans] don’t care about what happened to Jamal, they just care about the financial future,” added Cengiz, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.

“I want to remind them that there is something more important than money, that there is something more important than the financial situation of this club.

“There are really more expensive values that we have and we need in our life always.

“You should send the message to them that they cannot buy any English team because of this crime – it is the clear message that every English person should send them.”

She added: “We have to remind them of what they did to Jamal, because no-one was held accountable, so in other ways we should punish them.

“At least respect the soul of Jamal, because he paid the really high price for the freedom of speech.”