Golf champion Greg Norman tried to dismiss questions about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate as a “mistake”, adding that the Saudi government “wants to move on”.
Norman was speaking at a promotional event in the UK for a Saudi-backed golf tournament, the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Aged 67, he is managing director of LIV Golf Investments, financed mainly by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
The $225m (£184m) competition, designed to rival other major golf series, has sparked controversy over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, including the murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Last year, US intelligence agencies concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman approved of his murder.
“All this stuff about Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi and human rights; talk about it, but also talk about the good the country is doing by changing its culture,” Norman said. mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them in the future.”
The Aussie golfer said he hasn’t met Mohammed Bin Salman ‘but at the same time I read that the Saudi government has made their statements and comments on this and they want to move forward’ .
Asked how he felt when he heard about the execution of 81 men in Saudi Arabia in March, Norman said: “I’ve had a lot of messages, but honestly I’m waiting impatiently. I don’t look back. I don’t look at the politics of things. I’m not going to get into the quagmire of whatever’s going on in someone else’s world. I heard about it and kept moving forward,” he said.
Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 to collect the necessary documents for his marriage to his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
The murder was picked up by listening devices installed by the Turkish intelligence services. The dissident was strangled by security agents and then dismembered by a medical examiner who worked for the Saudi intelligence services. His body was then transferred in pieces to the nearby residence of the consul general of Turkey, where it is believed to have been burned in an outdoor oven. No remains have ever been found.
PA and Reuters contributed to this report