The children of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi have received tens of thousands of dollars and millions in real estate from the rulers of the kingdom as compensation for the killing of their father by a team of Saudi agents, according to a person close to the family and a former Saudi official familiar with the arrangement.
The payments appear to be part of an attempt to deter the Khashoggi children from speaking out against the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies have concluded ordered the killing.
Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist, had four adult children, including two who are U.S. citizens. Saudi Arabia has now provided each of the four with a house in the family’s home city of Jiddah worth about $4 million in addition to a steady stream of cash payments of $10,000 to $15,000 a month, according to the people familiar with the arrangement. All spoke on condition of anonymity because the arrangement was confidential.
The former official said that the crown prince’s father, King Salman, had ordered the payments shortly after he first learned that Saudi agents had ambushed and killed Khashoggi, and that the payments were intended as a form of financial support, without conditions, that would continue indefinitely.
But the Khashoggi family members also have felt pressure to refrain from criticizing the rulers of the kingdom, several people close to them have said, driven in part by fear of official retaliation against relatives still inside the kingdom. Although the other siblings are now in the United States, Khashoggi’s eldest son, Salah, still lives primarily in Jiddah, where he works as a banker, and after his father’s death he was initially barred for a time from leaving Saudi Arabia.
All four of Khashoggi’s children have privately raged at the royal court over their father’s death, many people who have talked to them have said. But in their few interviews and public statements, all his children have avoided directing any blame or resentment toward Crown Prince Mohammed and the Saudi royal family.
The family could soon receive additional payments in the form of so-called “blood money” in connection with a trial for Khashoggi’s killing that is unfolding in Saudi Arabia.