Saudis add Khashoggi case to Irish bond documents

Country’s sale of $7.5 billion of notes its first bond sale since death of journalist

‘Washington Post’ Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October. Photograph: Reuters

‘Washington Post’ Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October. Photograph: Reuters

 

Saudi Arabia has felt compelled to add a reference to the killing of dissident citizen Jamal Khashoggi in bond documents filed with the Irish Stock Exchange to support the country’s sale of $7.5 billion (€6.5 billion) of notes to international investors last week.

While there had been speculation that the kingdom would get a cold reception as it carried out its first sale of bonds since the death of the Washington Post columnist last October, the issue was almost four times oversubscribed, with the order book peaking at $27.5 billion (€23.9 billion), according to the Saudi ministry of finance.

The sale of the bonds was handled for the Saudis by BNP Paribas, JP Morgan, HSBC, Citigroup and NCB Capital.

Investors

Supplementary material inserted on January 9th into the base prospectus for the Irish-listed Saudi bonds, approved by the Central Bank of Ireland, highlighted a reference to the Khashoggi case in a section on the country’s legal and judicial system. Issuers of securities are required to include matters that are potentially of interest to investors in prospectuses.

“On 15 November 2018, the Saudi Arabian Public Prosecution announced the results of the investigation it carried out with respect to a number of suspects in the case of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi, who died on 2 October in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey,” the update said.

“The Public Prosecutor announced that some of the suspects had been indicted and their cases have been referred to the local court system. The initial hearing in the case was held on 3 January 2019 in the criminal court of Riyadh, with the indicted individuals as defendants.”

While Riyadh denies that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder, the CIA in the US concluded in November that the king-in-waiting ordered the killing. The US senate approved a resolution last month to hold the prince responsible for the death.

Prosecutors

Saudi state news agency SPA reported on January 3rd that prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects detained over Mr Khashoggi’s murder, as the court in Riyadh held its first hearing on the case.

Saudi Arabia carried out its first ever bond sale in October 2016, selecting the Irish Stock Exchange to list the notes and the Central Bank of Ireland to vet the relevant prospectus. Subsequent bond sales by the country have also been listed on the Dublin exchange, a major international venue for debt and fund listings.