Gates Foundation halts work with Saudi nonprofit after Khashoggi death


Bandar Algaloud | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Crown Prince and Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman (R) meets with Microsoft founder Bill Gates (L) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 14, 2017. 

A youth charity founded by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince just lost an influential backer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in the latest sign of fallout after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The charitable organization started by the Microsoft co-founder and his philanthropist wife is canceling much of its $5 million pledge to the MiSk Foundation, a Saudi youth empowerment nonprofit chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Last week, a Saudi prosecutor acknowledged for the first time that agents of the kingdom planned Khashoggi’s slaying at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The prosecutor initially said the Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident was unintentionally killed during a physical altercation. The Saudis earlier claimed Khashoggi, a critic of Prince Mohammed, left the consulate unharmed.

A spokesperson for the Gates Foundation told the Journal the “current situation” played a part in its decision.

“Jamal Khashoggi’s abduction and murder are extremely troubling,” she said. “We’re observing current events with concern.”

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