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JP Morgan, Ford latest big names to withdraw from Saudi event over missing journalist scandal Open in fullscreen

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JP Morgan, Ford latest big names to withdraw from Saudi event over missing journalist scandal

Media giants and business heavyweights have boycotted a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia. [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 October, 2018

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Business barons including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as media powerhouses like Bloomberg and CNN, have all pulled out of the investment conference.

JP Morgan CEO James Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford will not attend a major investment conference in Riyadh following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, CNBC reported on Sunday.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and US permanent resident whose writings have been critical of powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been missing since entering the country's consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Saudi Arabia has strongly denied this but has failed to explain the journalist's fate after entering its consulate building.

Dimon and Ford join a growing list of cancellations for next week's Future Investment Initiative - dubbed "Davos in the Desert" - a marquee event for the kingdom.

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

Business barons including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as media powerhouses like Bloomberg and CNN, have all pulled out.

Diplomatic sources told the BBC that the US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the UK's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might also not attend the conference.

US President Donald Trump has threatened Saudi Arabia "severe punishment" if Khashoggi was in fact killed, and Riyadh has vowed to hit back against any punitive measures.

Jamal Khashoggi is one of the Arab world's best-known journalists, having fled Saudi Arabia following Mohammed bin Salman's clampdown on perceived critics.

He moved to the US and was a contributor to The Washington Post.

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