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Uber CEO backtracks, says he was wrong to call Khashoggi killing a ‘mistake’

Click to play video: 'Khashoggi: One year since his murder' Khashoggi: One year since his murder
WATCH: Khashoggi: One year since his murder – Oct 2, 2019

Uber’s chief executive said on Monday the murder by Saudi Arabia, a major investor in his company, of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year could not be excused and that he was wrong to have described the killing as a “serious mistake.”

READ MORE: What Canadian political parties are saying on the anniversary of Jamal Khashoggi’s death

Dara Khosrowshahi was backtracking from comments he made in an interview with “Axios on HBO” aired earlier in which he compared the Washington Post columnist’s murder by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate to a fatality caused by one of his company’s self-driving cars.

“It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too, with self-driving, and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake,” Khosrowshahi said in the interview. “So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously…”

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Click to play video: '‘I thought I would become Jamal’s wife. Instead I became the last witness before a murder’: Khashoggi’s fiancé' ‘I thought I would become Jamal’s wife. Instead I became the last witness before a murder’: Khashoggi’s fiancé
‘I thought I would become Jamal’s wife. Instead I became the last witness before a murder’: Khashoggi’s fiancé – Oct 2, 2019

Khosrowshahi later said on Twitter: “There’s no forgiving or forgetting what happened to Jamal Khashoggi & I was wrong to call it a ‘mistake.'”

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“I said something in the moment I don’t believe. Our investors have long known my views here & I’m sorry I wasn’t as clear on Axios.”

READ MORE: A year after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, several questions remain unanswered

Khashoggi’s killing sparked a global uproar, tarnishing the image of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The CIA and some Western governments have said they believe the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Prince Mohammed has denied that but said he bore ultimate responsibility as the country’s de facto leader.

Click to play video: 'Khashoggi killing ‘happened under my watch’: Saudi crown prince' Khashoggi killing ‘happened under my watch’: Saudi crown prince
Khashoggi killing ‘happened under my watch’: Saudi crown prince – Sep 26, 2019

READ MORE: Khashoggi’s fiancee says Saudi Crown Prince has a duty to answer questions

Asked about the CIA’s assessment of the crown prince’s involvement, Khosrowshahi said: “I didn’t read that part of the CIA report … but I think from a Saudi perspective, they’re just like any other shareholder.”

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Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF acquired a 5 per cent stake in Uber in 2016 worth US$3.5 billion. Its chairman sits on the board.

Click to play video: 'Freeland says no deals with Saudi Arabia have been done since death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi' Freeland says no deals with Saudi Arabia have been done since death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Freeland says no deals with Saudi Arabia have been done since death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – Sep 5, 2019

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