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Treasury hits 17 Saudis with economic sanctions

Saud Al-Mojeb, Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor, is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. | AP photo

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. Treasury Department is adding economic sanctions to the travel bans already in place against 17 Saudis accused of taking part in the October slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi inside their country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The new sanctions freeze any assets the 17 may have in the U.S. and prohibit any Americans from doing business with them. The sanctions were announced Thursday. One of the men is a top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.

U.S. officials say they have pressed the Saudi government for a full investigation into the killing of Khashoggi. Turkish and Saudi authorities say the U.S.-based columnist for The Washington Post was killed by a team from the kingdom inside the consulate after he went there to get marriage documents.

Saudi authorities have 21 people in custody and the country’s top prosecutor said he would seek the death penalty for five of the suspects.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister says Salman had “absolutely” nothing to do with the killing of Khashoggi.

“Absolutely, his royal highness the crown prince has nothing to do with this issue,” Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in a press conference in Riyadh.

Al-Jubeir said the kingdom is investigating and holding those responsible to account “to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“Sometimes mistakes happen… sometimes people exceed their authority,” he said, adding that the kingdom is now focused on ensuring such an operation does not happen again.