Riyadh: A major suspect in the missing Saudi journalist case was identified by the Turkish authorities as a frequent companion of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stated media reports. Identified as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, the suspect had extensively travelled with the Crown Prince and was once a diplomat to the Saudi Embassy in London in 2007, according to a British diplomatic roster.

Three other suspects, namely Abdulaziz Mohammed al-Hawsawi, Thaar Ghaleb al-Harbi, and Muhammed Saad Alzahrani were identified as the Saudi King’s security team. Moreover, a fifth suspect in the case, Salah al-Tubaig identifies himself as the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics in his twitter handle, according to a report by The New York Times dated October 16.

The Saudi operation that is accused of allegedly killing Khashoggi in Istanbul, was organized by a high-ranking officer who was close to the inner circle of the Saudi Crown Prince. Moreover, the officer is linked to Saudi Arabia’s main intelligence service, the General Intelligence Presidency, reported CNN.

The series of developments in the case raises doubts about US President Donald Trump’s claim, “maybe these could’ve been rogue killers.” After speaking with the Saudi Crown Prince on Monday, President Trump said that the King had denied any knowledge about the missing journalist.

The US leader said that Riyadh was being treated as “guilty until proven innocent”.

As per records, two private jets chartered by a Saudi company with close ties to the Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Ministry had arrived and left Istanbul on the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi had disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. He had gone to the diplomatic building to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. While the Turkish officials claim that the journalist was killed by a special team of 15 Saudi officials, the Saudi authorities maintain that Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon.

(With Agency inputs)