The killers of Jamal Khashoggi underwent paramilitary training in the United States a year before his murder, The New York Times reported.
The training was approved by the US State Department.
Tier 1 Group, a security company based in Arkansas, owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, started to provide the training in 2014 during the Obama administration to members of the Saudi Royal Guard and the Saudi Rapid Intervention.
Louis Bremer, a senior executive of Cerberus, provided The New York Times with a document containing written answers to questions lawmakers last year as part of his nomination for a top job in the Pentagon during the Trump administration.
In the document, Bremer confirmed Tier 1 Group trained four members of the Khashoggi kill team in 2017 and that two of them had previously been trained from October 2014 until January 2015 during the Obama administration.
It remains unclear which four of the Saudi operatives involved in Khashoggi’s death participated in the Tier 1 Group training.
Seven members of the Khashoggi kill team belonged to an elite unit tasked with protecting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The training was developed to teach how to better protect leaders in Saudi Arabia and included lessons in surveillance and close-quarters battle as well as ‘safe marksmanship’ and ‘countering an attack’.
Bremer said in an additional statement to The New York Times that the training provided by Tier 1 Group was ‘protective in nature’ and that the company did not train Saudis after December 2017.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote critically of the kingdom’s policies and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish officials say a 15-men team tortured, killed and dismembered the writer, while Saudi Arabia says he died in a ‘fistfight.’