Maurice Levy
Maurice Levy

Publicis Groupe chairman Maurice Levy said the French ad/PR combine, owner of Qorvis Communications—Saudi Arabia’s go-to PR firm—is monitoring developments in the investigation into the Oct. 2 murder of Washington Post contributor and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

The Government of Turkey officially said today that Saudi agents strangled Khashoggi as soon as he walked into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. They dismembered and destroyed his body.

The ruling follows three days of unproductive meetings this week between a Saudi prosecutor and brother of King Salman, who was dispatched by Crown Prince Salman, and Turkish security officials. The Saudi official has returned to the Kingdom.

Levy told Reuters on Oct. 30 that for the time being Publicis is “looking at all the aspects and monitoring the situation very carefully.”

He said nobody knows who gave the order to kill Khashoggi.

The New York Times reported today that ”western intelligence analysts and Turkish officials have maintained that the operation could not have been carried out without the consent of Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia.” The Crown Prince heads the Saudi investigation into the Khashoggi murder.

Levy acquired Qorvis in 2014. The Washington-based PR firm replaced Burson-Marsteller on the Saudi Arabia business in the days following the 9/11 terror attacks. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia.

Arthur Sadoun succeeded Levy as Publicis CEO in 2017.