Four Saudi citizens who participated in the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the US, says a New York Times report.
According to the Times, the four men had received training the previous year under a contract approved by the US State Department.
The training was provided by Tier 1 Group, which is owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, and was defensive in nature and devised to help protect Saudi leaders, the Times report said.
“The training provided was unrelated to their subsequent heinous acts,” Cerberus senior executive Louis Bremer was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
He added that a review by Tier 1 Group conducted in March 2019 “uncovered no wrongdoing by the company and confirmed that the established curriculum training was unrelated to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi”.
Mr. Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October, 2018.
The ABC, Australia’s main media outlet, had earlier revealed that a doctor suspected of killing and dismembering Mr. Khashoggi trained at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Melbourne after being sponsored by the Saudi government.
In response to the Times report, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the department could not comment “on any of the licensed defence export licensing activity alleged in media reporting”, for legal reasons.