Uber CEO admits he was ‘wrong’ to call murder of Jamal Khashoggi ‘a mistake’

Uber’s CEO admits he was “wrong” to say the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a “mistake” for which the country should be “forgiven”.

Dara Khosrowshahi said in a tweet on Monday that his comments were made “in the moment” and were something “I don’t believe”.

He added: “There’s no forgiving or forgetting what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and I was wrong to call it a ‘mistake’.”

He apologised for not making his views more clear.

Mr Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi critic who worked for the Washington Post, was last seen in October 2018 as he entered the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul to collect a document. His body has never been found.

Mr Khosrowshahi, an Iranian-American who has been CEO of Uber since 2017, said in an Axios interview that he believed Khashoggi’s killing was “a serious mistake” by Saudi Arabia.

He then compared it to a fatal incident involving a self-driving Uber vehicle.

“I think that government said that they made a mistake,” he said, adding: “It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes, too. With self-driving, and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake.

“So I think that people make mistakes – it doesn’t mean that they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously.”

Saudi Arabia has charged 11 people that it says are government agents over the killing, and has put them on trial – though it is being held in secret.

In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes in September, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he “takes full responsibility” for the murder, but has denied making the orders.

The self-driving incident that Mr Khosrowshahi compared to the journalist’s killing involved an Uber-operated Volvo SUV that hit a 49-year-old woman in Arizona in 2018 after it failed to recognise her as a pedestrian at a crossing.

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