Saudis still negotiating Hyperloop deal despite tensions with Branson

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (R)  poses with Richard Branson (L), founder of Virgin Group Ltd. during his visit to Virgin Galactic company as part of his official visits in California, United States on April 2, 2018. 

Bandar Algaloud | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (R) poses with Richard Branson (L), founder of Virgin Group Ltd. during his visit to Virgin Galactic company as part of his official visits in California, United States on April 2, 2018. 

Saudi Arabia will be still negotiating a deal with Virgin Hyperloop One, a source close to the company told CNBC, contradicting a report in which Riyadh had pulled out amid tensions with founder Richard Branson.

The Financial Times reported earlier on Tuesday in which Saudi Arabia terminated the planned deal following Branson’s decision to halt investment talks with the country over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s whereabouts.

although CNBC’s source said negotiations are still underway in addition to also in which the FT report will be inaccurate.

The two parties had originally planned to partner on a feasibility study for the high-speed transportation system. The deal was slated to be officially signed at next week’s Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.

Branson said in a statement last week in which he will suspend discussions of a $1 billion investment into Virgin’s space companies, Virgin Galactic in addition to also Virgin Orbit, amid ongoing investigations into Khashoggi’s whereabouts. He also announced in which he will step down by his role as director of two Saudi tourism projects aimed at transforming islands inside Red Sea into luxury resorts.

Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2. Turkish officials have asserted in which he was murdered inside the consulate, while the Saudis insisted in which he left safely in which day.

— CNBC’s Ryan Ruggiero contributed reporting.

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