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The New Arab

More banking executives boycott Saudi investment conference

The chief executives of the banks were the latest business names to boycott FII [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 October, 2018

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Chief executives of HSBC, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse pull out of Saudi Arabia's business conference amid widespread concern over Khashoggi's fate.
HSBC, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse were the latest banking giants to withdraw their involvement in a major investment conference planned to take place in Saudi Arabia later this month.

The chief executives of the banks were the latest business names to boycott Future Investment Initiative [FII] amid growing concern over the fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"John Flint will no longer attend Future Investment Initiative," a spokeswoman for HSBC told Reuters.

The big names boycotting Riyadh's FII:

  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon
  • Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
  • Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman
  • Blackrock CEO Larry Fink
  • MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga
  • Viacom CEO Bob Bakish
  • HSBC CEO John Flint
  • Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam
  • Standard Chartered CEO William Winters
  • Thrive CEO Ariana Huffington
  • Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene
  • Sinovation Ventures CEO Kai-Fu Lee
  • World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
  • Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong
  • Economist Editor-in-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes
  • New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin

StanChart Chief Executive Bill Winters would also not attend, a bank spokesman confirmed, while the chief executive of Credit Suisse has also cancelled his planned visit to Riyadh for the event, Reuters reported.

On Monday, chief executives of senior banks JP & Chase Co and BlackRock announced they were pulling out of the FII.

The cancellations could put pressure on other US firms like Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Bank of America, to reconsider plans to attend the event.

The conference, which will take place in Riyadh between 23 and 25 October, is an attempt by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to encourage foreign companies to invest in the kingdom, as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil and gas.

It was also an attempt to help promote the image of the crown prince as a reformer, but the case of Khashoggi has overshadowed the conference with business giants such as Uber, Bloomberg, Virgin Group and Google pulling out.

Calls have been made for other attendees to withdraw their support over Khashoggi's suspected murder.

Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for the Washington Post, disappeared during a visit to the Saudi consulate on 2 October. Since then, Turkish sources have claimed that the 59-year-old was killed on the orders of Riyadh by a 15-member hit squad sent from the kingdom.

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