Khashoggi fallout: Saudi conference no-shows

AFP Dubai - United Arab Emirates Oct 18, 2018, 06.27 PM(IST)

File Photo: A demonstrator holds a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Here is an updated list of no-shows based on official announcements and reports by Bloomberg News and CNBC:

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday became the latest in an array of policy-makers and corporate chiefs to pull out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week, following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Company leaders risk losing lucrative business with the kingdom by shunning the conference. But claims by Turkish officials that Khashoggi was killed by a hit squad in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul have left them in an awkward spot.

Le Maire joined International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde in withdrawing, telling France's Public Senat TV channel that "the current circumstances do not allow me to go to Riyadh".

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will decide later on Thursday whether to attend, after reviewing the outcome of a diplomatic dash by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  

The October 23-25 conference is billed as a showcase for the economic reforms of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But it has been thrown into confusion since Khashoggi, a Saudi national and US resident who was strongly critical of the crown prince, failed to emerge from a visit to the Istanbul consulate on October 2.

The conference's website previously featured a star-studded list of speakers. But that has been removed following the steady flow of defections.

Here is an updated list of no-shows based on official announcements and reports by Bloomberg News and CNBC:

Finance

-- HSBC chief executive John Flint

-- Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam

-- MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga

(HSBC, Credit Suisse and MasterCard are listed among the eight "strategic partners" of the conference. Another is Siemens, whose boss Joe Kaeser says he is still mulling whether to come.)

-- BNP Paribas chairman Jean Lemierre

-- Societe Generale CEO Frederic Oudea

-- JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon 

-- BlackRock chief Larry Fink

-- Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman

-- Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters

-- London Stock Exchange CEO David Schwimmer.

Industry/Technology

 -- Ford chairman Bill Ford 

-- Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi 

-- British billionaire Richard Branson 

-- Thrive CEO Ariana Huffington 

-- Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene.

Media

 -- Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.

In addition, multiple media groups have withdrawn executives or journalists who were due to take part in the conference, including CNN, Bloomberg, The Economist, the New York Times, CNBC and the Financial Times.