Four Saudi operatives who were part of a hit team that murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training from a private US company approved by the State Department, according to a report Tuesday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
Citing documents and people familiar with the arrangement, the New York Times reported that the Saudi operatives had received training from Tier 1 Group in 2017, and two of them had participated in a previous version of the training that ran from October 2014 until January 2015.
However, the Arkansas-based security company -- owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management -- claimed the training "was defensive in nature and devised to better protect Saudi leaders," said the Times.
Khashoggi was brutally murdered in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2018. While Riyadh initially denied any role in his death, it later sought to pin blame on what it said was a botched rendition operation.
That explanation has been widely rejected.
In February, a report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) under President Joe Biden’s administration said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the killing.