A group headed up by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is closing in on a £300 million ($375m) deal to take over the Premier League club
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has warned against the proposed takeover of Newcastle by Saudi Arabia‘s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The consortium, which is headed up by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is closing in on a £300 million ($375m) deal to take over the Premier League club.
That potential deal has alarmed Cengiz, whose fiancee was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Following an investigation, the CIA concluded in November 2018 that Bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi.
“Moral values should prevail,” Cengiz told BBC 5 Live of the proposed takeover.
“My message would be to the management of Newcastle United and to the decision makers.
“We should consider ethical values, not just financial or political ones. Money cannot buy everything in the world. So the message that will be given to people like the Crown Prince is extremely important.
“There should be no place in English football for those credibly accused of atrocities and murder”.
Cengiz is not alone in her criticism of the proposed Saudi involvement in the Premier League, with Amnesty International warning last month that the league risks becoming a “patsy” should it allow the deal to go through.
The Premier League is currently reviewing the proposed sale, with current owner Mike Ashley ready to unload his ownership stake in the club.
The takeover would see the Saudi PIF acquire an 80 per cent stake in the club. The remaining 20% would be split between Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners (10%) and British businessmen, the Reuben brothers (10%).
Cengiz, though, has urged the Premier League to reconsider.
“We don’t want this deal to go ahead,” Cengiz said. “We are not just talking about the murder of a human being but the efforts to keep all hopes regarding the future, to keep human rights alive, to support justice and to start a transformation in the Middle East.
“This deal seems to be about buying something. But there is a wider picture. Saudi Arabia shows the world its face of reform. But it has another face where the reality is far from what is shown to the world. This is why we want this [deal] to be stopped and not be completed.”