The CEOs of Credit Suisse (NYSEARCA: DGAZ), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and HSBC (LON: HSBA) are the latest to drop out of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi this month.
The number of high-profile dropouts is on the increase amid tensions over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
HSBC’s John Flint, Google’s Diane Greene and Credit Suisse’s Tidjane Thiam are just the latest speakers to announce their absence from “Davos in the Desert”.
Sir Richard Branson has suspended talks over $1 billion Saudi investment, saying he had “high hopes for the current government in the kingdom and its leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.” However, if reports of the government’s involvement of the Washington Post journalist’s disappearance are true, it will “clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government”.
Earlier this week, JP Morgan (LON: JMC) chief executive Jamie Dimon also he would not attend.
Ford chairman Bill Ford (NYSE: F) and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi have also confirmed their absence.
Khosrowshahi said: I’m very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi. We are following the situation closely, and unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won’t be attending the FII conference in Riyadh.”
The Washington Post reported last week that there is evidence supporting that theory the journalist was murdered by Saudi agents.
A person told The Washington Post: “The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered. You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic. You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”