Uber CEO compares Saudi killing of Khashoggi to their mistakes with self-driving cars

The Independent 3 weeks ago

The chief executive of minicab-hailing firm Uber appeared to compare the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi with mistakes his company made with self-driving cars which resulted in a fatal crash.

In a TV interview for the programme Axios on HBO, Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi responded to a question about Saudi Arabia’s investment in the firm by saying, “I think that government said they made a mistake”.

“It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too, right, with self-driving. We stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake.

“People make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they can never be forgiven.”

In a statement given after the interview, Mr Khosrowshahi backtracked and said: “I said something in the moment that I do not believe. When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused.”

Washington Post journalist who was critical of the Saudi regime and the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he was murdered on 2 October in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul
Heir to the Saudi throne, Mohammed bin Salman has been implicated in the murder, with US officials claiming that he must have known of the plot
Turkish police suspect these 15 men of being involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, issued 10 October, 8 days after the journalist disappeared
Aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saud al-Qahtani is claimed to have ordered Khashoggi's murder
A former diplomat who often travelled with the Crown Prince, Mutreb was initially claimed to be the leader of the hit squad and is pictured here entering the Saudi consulate on the day of the murder
First implicated in the 15 CCTV photos released by the Turkish police, al-Madani was later found to have been used as a body double for Khashoggi, leaving the Saudi consulate dressed in his clothes on the day the journalist was killed
Son of the murdered journalist met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on 23 October

The question centred on Yasir al-Rumayyan, the director of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, who is a member of Uber’s board of directors.

The sovereign wealth fund is Uber’s fifth-biggest investor.

Mr Khosrowshahi was asked whether he thought Mr al-Rumayyan should stand for re-election to Uber’s board of directors, given he is the representative of a government the CIA has implicated in the murder of a US resident.

“I think he’s been a very constructive board member, Yasir has, and I personally have valued his input greatly. It’s up to him whether he wants to stand for re-election," he said.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s government and of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

He was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a hit squad of 15 Saudi nationals who travelled to Turkey on diplomatic passports.

Last month was the one-year anniversary of his death.

The UN described his death as a “deliberate, premeditated execution” for which the Saudi government bore responsibility.

The CIA investigation concluded the Crown Prince himself ordered the killing – something he has denied.

In March last year, a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Florida.

A report found the autonomous vehicle, which also had an operator at the wheel, did not have “the capability to classify an object as a pedestrian unless that object was near a crosswalk,” and as a result did not allow enough braking time before the vehicle struck 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she wheeled her bicycle across a road.

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