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Formula E CEO: Saudi Arabia race still planned to open 2018-19 season in mid-December

Formula E Championship - Santiago E-Prix

SANTIAGO, CHILE - FEBRUARY 03: Daniel Abt of Germany, Audi Sport Abt Shaeffler drives during the qualifying laps as part of the the ABB Formula-E Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix on February 3, 2018 in Santiago, Chile. (Photo by Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

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LONDON (AP) -- The Formula E motorsport series is pressing ahead with plans to open its season in Saudi Arabia, even as global business leaders have suspended ties with the Gulf kingdom over the disappearance of a journalist.

Turkish officials say they fear Saudi agents killed and dismembered Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the consulate in Istanbul nearly two weeks ago. Khashoggi wrote columns in the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The alleged incident led to business executives and media companies pulling out of a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

But Formula E is not ready to pull out of Saudi Arabia, which will host the electric racing championship season opener on Dec. 15 in the outskirts of the capital Riyadh.

Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag told The Associated Press on Monday that “referring to the incident, we obviously have no comment to make. At this moment there are no plans to change the Formula E calendar this season. Of course we are monitoring (the situation).”