Prince Andrew says he wants to work closely with Saudi Arabia just days after the totalitarian state admitted murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Duke of York says he wants the Islamist country to join a scheme he runs promoting entrepreneurship.
Citing the programme’s success in the United Arab Emirates, the royal was speaking to youngsters in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
His remarks come after international trade secretary Liam Fox pulled out of attending the Saudi-run conference known as ‘Davos in the Desert’, The Times reports.
He told the conference: ‘We hope to expand into Saudi and other Gulf Co-operation Council countries.
Prince Andrew added that the scheme would work ‘hopefully in the future with Saudi Arabia and other parts of this world’.
The duke’s Pitch@Palace aims to connect investors with entrepreneurs and he founded the venture in 2014.
He set it up after he was dismissed from his role as a trade envoy for Britain when leaked US diplomatic cables revealed him attacking journalists and the Serious Fraud Office over an investigation into kickbacks to a Saudi official as part of the UK’s biggest ever arms deal with the country.
The prince’s links to Kazakh oligarchs as well as the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have also caused controversy.
Saudi journalist Kashoggi was butchered alive during an excruciating seven-minute execution inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according the Middle East Eye.
An anonymous source claimed to have heard an audio recording of Khashoggi’s horrifying final moments, captured on the journalist’s own Apple Watch, shortly after he entered he consulate on October 2.
The tape reportedly reveals he was dragged from the Saudi Consul General’s office to a table in a next-door study to be surgically dismembered.
The missing journalist’s dying screams, before he was ‘injected with an unknown drug’ and fell silent are said to have been captured on the recording.
‘There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him,’ the source said.
The source said Khashoggi’s screams were heard by people downstairs as he was cut into pieces on the desk and that the butchers used headphones to drown him out.
One of the 15 Saudi men identified as part of the ‘hit squad’ accused of murdering Khashoggi is ‘forensic expert’ Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy.
The source said that Tubaigy can be heard telling others in the squad: ‘When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that]too.’