- US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will not attend a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia following the disappearance and apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Mnuchin originally said last week that he would still attend despite the outcry over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
- A number of high-profile executives, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, had already announced their decision to ditch the event.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said he would not attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia following the disappearance and apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Just met with @realDonaldTrump and @SecPompeo and we have decided, I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia,” Mnuchin tweeted.
The Treasury Secretary initially maintained his intention to attend the Future investment Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, despite the outcry over Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Finance ministers from France and the Netherlands had already announced their decision to not attend the conference and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is also delaying her trip to the Middle East as a result of the fallout.
A number of high-profile executives including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington, all dropped out of the conference amid the outrage over Khashoggi’s fate. Media partners for the event, including The New York Times, CNN, and Bloomberg, also pulled out.
Khashoggi went missing on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. According to reports, while in the consulate Khashoggi was interrogated and killed by Saudi officials. The Saudi royal family has denied involvement, but more reporting has emerged suggesting the highest levels of its government, including Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, orchestrated the interrogation plot.
Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime.
The crown prince was also at the forefront of the FII, a conference designed to drum up international support for the country’s Vision 2030 project. The project is designed to further the economic goals of Saudi Arabia and help ease dependency on oil.
He has courted business executives and celebrities in an attempt to win over international support for the project.
Following the news of Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged killing, Wall Street executives including Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman urged the Saudis to delay the conference. Additionally they urged Mnuchin to make his attendance contingent on more information coming to light. When neither request got through, the trio pulled out.
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