Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph:( Reuters )
Virgin Atlantic chief Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had already decided not to attend the event
After several media bigwigs pulled out of the international conference in Riyadh over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, US media reported that JP Morgan CEO James Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford will also boycott the event.
Riyadh will be hosting "Future Investment Initiative" widely touted as "Davos in the Desert" however the sudden disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2nd and the subsequent reports of him being killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has sent shockwaves around the world leading several major company CEOs to pull out of the marquee event.
Virgin Atlantic chief Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had already decided not to attend the event over Khashoggi's reported disappearance inside the Saudi consulate.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia threatened that it will respond to any action taken against it by the international community "with a bigger one". It dismissed accusations that it was behind Khashoggi's mysterious disappearance.
"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure," Saudi Arabia said in a statement.
However, Western powers continued to pile on the pressure spearheaded by US president Trump warned of "severe punishment" if Saudi hand was proved during the ongoing investigation over Khashoggi.
"We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment," Trump told US media.
In an attempt to cool tempers, Saudi King Salman called up Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday to affirm his country's "solid" relations with Ankara.
Erdogan has called on Saudi Arabia to explain the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, after he entered the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul and reportedly never came out.