Nov 11, 2018

Report: Saudi officials sought to use private companies to kill enemies

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Top Saudi officials, including deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, who was blamed and fired last month for allegedly ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, inquired about assassinating the kingdom's Iranian enemies during a meeting with private businessmen in March 2017, reports the New York Times.

The big picture: The meeting was part of an effort by a group of international businessman to pitch the Saudis on an operation to sabotage Iran's economy. During the discussion, Saudi officials reportedly asked about killing Qassem Soleimani, a general in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but were rejected by the businessmen's lawyer. Per the Times, the episode highlights the fact that more than a year before the killing of Khashoggi, officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had increasingly become interested in carrying out high-risk, covert operations targeting the kingdom's enemies.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.