Pressure on kingdom
Global business leaders are reassessing their ties with Saudi Arabia, stoking pressure on the Gulf kingdom to explain what happened to dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.
British billionaire Sir Richard Branson yesterday suspended business links with Saudi Arabia, and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said he might not attend a major investment conference there this month.
“What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government,” Branson said.
The founder of Virgin Group says he will suspend his role as director in two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia while an investigation takes place. He also is putting on hold talks about a proposed Saudi investment in space companies Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.
Khosrowshahi is scheduled to speak at the Future Investment Initiative conference from October 23-25 in Riyadh but “unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won’t be attending.” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed yesterday he will go.
The Financial Times announced it would no longer be a media partner to the event, likewise Bloomberg — though it will cover the event. CNN cancelled its partnership, the New
and CNBC pulled out of the event.