The children of Jamal Khashoggi have received millions of dollars’ worth of property, one-off payments and large monthly allowances as compensation for the killing of the Saudi journalist, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday.
The family could also receive tens of millions of dollars in “blood money” payments following the trial of Khashoggi’s alleged killers in Riyadh. All told, the family could stand to collect more than $70 million in cash and assets, the source estimated.
The Saudi government would contend that these payments are intended to make amends, but the expectation is that in exchange for the money, they won’t publicly criticize the royal family over Khashoggi’s death, the source said.
Khashoggi’s four children have each been gifted homes worth as much as 15 million Saudi riyals (around $4 million), the source said. Salah, who as the eldest son handles the family’s relations with the government, has been given a large home in Jeddah, where he works as a banker. His brother, Abdullah, and two sisters have been given houses together in a different compound.
In addition to the property, Khashoggi’s four children each received a one-time payment of 1 million riyals ($267,000) and will each receive a monthly stipend of $10,000 to $15,000, which could continue indefinitely, according to the source.
The houses, one-off payments and monthly allowances were approved by Saudi King Salman, the source said.
The Washington Post, where Khashoggi worked as a columnist before he was killed, first reported the payments to his children.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 operatives they say were involved in Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
If the men are convicted and sentenced to death, the Saudi justice system would allow Khashoggi’s family to grant their father’s killers clemency through the so-called “blood money” arrangement.
Blood money is a legal mechanism under Sharia law, through which the accused pays a sum to the relatives of the victim to avoid the death penalty. If, as expected, the men are unable pay the amount demanded by the family, the government could step in to foot the bill.
The family could receive further payments of as much as 100 to 200 million riyals ($26.7- $53.3 million) as part of blood money negotiations that might be expected when the trial concludes, CNN’s source said. That estimate is based on similar deals made in the past which involved payments by the Saudi government, according to the source.
The Saudi government didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment Tuesday.
So far, Khashoggi’s children have not openly criticized the kingdom, despite the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered their father’s killing.
Photos released by the Saudi government in October showed a stone-faced Salah Khashoggi shaking hands with bin Salman, in what was widely perceived as an orchestrated opportunity for Khashoggi’s eldest son to show deference to the Saudi royal family.
Salah, a dual US-Saudi citizen, is the only Khashoggi sibling who plans to stay in the kingdom, according to CNN’s source. Abdullah and his two sisters are still in the United States and have no intention of returning to live in the homes given to them in Saudi. CNN’s source said they are not able to sell the homes and pocket the money either.
CNN reached out to Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi for comment, but neither has responded.
In an exclusive interview with CNN in November, the two brothers described their father as “courageous, generous and very brave,” and issued an emotional appeal for the return of their father’s body, which was never found.
“I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,” Abdullah told CNN during a sit-down interview in Washington with Salah.
Asked how Khashoggi should be remembered, Salah replied, “as a moderate man who has common values with everyone… a man who loved his country, who believed so much in it and its potential.”
Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew of the operation to target Khashoggi last October. US officials, however, have said such a mission — including 15 men sent from Riyadh — could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman.
US President Donald Trump has come under pressure from Congress and others to hold Saudi Arabia accountable over the Khashoggi case. But Trump, an ally of the 33-year-old heir, has so far shown no interest in investigating allegations of bin Salman’s involvement, saying: “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.”
US sanctions have been imposed on 17 Saudi individuals, but not bin Salman.