Saudi "Sportswashing" continues with $1B Inter Milan takeover
Saudi Arabia is close to a possible takeover of Italy's Serie A giant, Inter Milan, marking its second takeover after Newcastle.
Saudi Arabia is currently finalizing preparations for a deal to acquire Italian football giant Inter Milan. The Kingdom's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been given the okay to acquire the football team, thereby increasing Saudi investments in the sports world.
The Chinese owners of the club, Suning Holdings, are currently bleeding money and have thus began to search for investors to recoup their losses. It's been recently announced that Saudi Arabia will be the party to acquire the club, and that the deal will be completed by next week.
The Saudi acquisition of Inter Milan marks the second acquisition by the PIF after the UK Premier League's Newcastle United in October 2021.
Inter Milan, under its current management, was losing close to $15 million per month, forcing it to sell two of its best players, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, which allowed the Suning group to recoup $150 million.
Critics of the move, however, say that these acquisitions are intended to shift attention away from the Kingdom's human rights abuses, which has been dubbed "sportswashing". Amnesty International, for example, had called on the Premier League to make changes to its owners' and directors' test by adding a section that addresses "human rights issues."
The Newcastle takeover was also condemned by slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée, who said the £300 million ($408 million) takeover deal was "heartbreaking" and disappointing for her and that it was “a real shame for Newcastle and for English football” that the club was now “owned by the person responsible for the murder of Jamal” in reference to Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi's murderers living in luxury villas
A source close to Saudi intelligence has divulged that the Saudi hit squad convicted of killing Jamal Khashoggi are actually enjoying their freedom comfortably in "seven-star" establishments inside a government-funded compound in Riyadh.
The assassins are reportedly living in residential complexes with access to gyms and workstations, frequently visited by family. The compounds are operated by Saudi Arabia's State Security agency, far from the country's notorious prisons. According to the source, two witnesses claim to have seen the men.
The murderers were sentenced in a Saudi court in a trial widely regarded as a farce, where only one, Salah al-Tubaigy, was identified. Some were sentenced to death, but their convictions were eventually reduced to life terms.
Tubaigy, a forensic scientist who dismembered Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was among those spotted inside the premises, according to the source. Mustafa Al-Madani, the body duplicate sent by the hit squad team to create the deception that Khashoggi left the consulate alive, has also been sighted, as has Mansour Abahussein, the operation's leader.