| Menuchin plans to attend a Saudi conference and withdraw media due to the disappearance of Khashoggi
Money tomorrow Published in the funds of tomorrow on 13 – 10 – 2018
US Treasury Secretary Stephen Menuchin and the big Wall Street banks are planning to attend a high-level Saudi investment conference this month, despite the withdrawal of large media companies and chief executives after the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.
Menuchin's intention to participate in the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh comes this month after comments from US President Donald Trump that he saw no reason to block Saudi investments in the United States, despite concerns about the safety of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
If so, we can look at it, but I intend to go, "said Menuchin in an interview with CNBC on Friday.
In a letter to Trump, the leaders of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House said that Menuchin should cancel the plans to attend the conference unless Saudi Arabia fully disclosed what it knew about the disappearance of Khashoggi.
"We urge you to use all the necessary pressure to encourage further Saudi cooperation in investigating this incident," said Ed Ruiz, chairman of the committee and Elliott Engel, Democrat Democrat.
Worldwide pressure has increased on Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the United States since Khashoggi's disappearance, a critic of Saudi policies. Khashoggi was last seen when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.
Turkish officials say that Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate where he was going to collect documents for his planned marriage. Riyad says it is unfounded.
CNN, the Financial Times, The New York Times, CNBC and Bloomberg, as well as the journalists and editors of the economists, said they would not attend the conference, which relies heavily on reporters to carry out the main sessions.
CNBC and Bloomberg, along with Fox Business, are among the media partners with an important role in the conference, which is scheduled to begin on 23 October.
"We're not going to Riyadh," said Dara Khososhahi, chief executive of Uber Technologies, Bob Bakish, chief executive of Viacom Media Group of America, and billionaire Steve Case, one of the founders of AOL.
British billionaire Richard Branson said his Virgin Group would suspend discussions with the Saudi Public Investment Fund over a planned $ 1 billion investment in the group's space projects.
The absence of executives from media and technology companies is likely to overshadow the Davos conference in the Sahara, which has become the largest investor exhibition to promote the reform vision launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The conference attracts some of the world's leading corporate elite, including heads of large Wall Street companies and executives of multinational companies in the fields of media, technology and financial services.
The organizers of the conference on Friday deleted all the names of the participants of the conference website as the number of cancellations increased.
A spokesman for the Future Investment Initiative said that the withdrawal of some speakers was disappointing, but the initiative looked forward to welcoming thousands of speakers and guests from around the world.
A World Bank official said Friday that bank chairman Jim Young Kim would not go to Riyadh because of a conflict with his agenda.
Responding to a question about the doubts that arose among the business leaders about the conference, a Saudi diplomatic source said late on Thursday that he hoped that a joint Saudi-Turkish investigation into the case would be completed before the conference began.
The disappearance of Khashoggi led civil servants and business leaders to withdraw from another major project sponsored by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Former US Secretary of Energy, Ernest Muniz, said on Wednesday that he had decided to suspend his advisory role in the Neum Council, a planned mega-economic zone, until further information was known about the Khashoggi case.
Although executives from media and technology companies have withdrawn from the conference, the financial sector has not shown any trace of a similar reaction.
None of the financial companies whose senior executives speak at the conference has announced changes to the plans when they contact Reuters.
HSBC, the largest bank in Europe, declined to comment on whether chief executive, John Flint, was still planning to attend.
HSBC is a strategic partner of the conference alongside Credit Suisse, whose chief executive Tijani Tiem is still planning to attend, according to a well-informed source.
Bill Winters, chief executive of the bank, which focuses on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, is still planning to attend the conference, a Standard Chartered spokeswoman told Reuters. Jimmy Demon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Ajay Banga, chief executive of MasterCard, speak at the conference. Representatives of those companies, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, did not respond to requests for comments.
Siemens said CEO Joe Kiser was still planning to attend the conference.
Senior investors also avoided announcing plans to withdraw from the conference. BlackRock, the world's largest asset management company, said it "kept a close eye on the situation".
Blackstone, the direct investment giant, has yet to respond to requests for comments on whether chief executive, Steven Schwartzman, is still planning to participate.
A spokesperson for the London Stock Exchange, whose chief executive David Schwimmer wanted to speak at the conference, declined to comment. The fair wants to make an initial public offer to the Saudi Saudi giant Saudi Aramco.
City of London, the financial district of Great Britain and one of the largest lobby groups in the country, said it was urgently looking for more information about Khashoggi. Catherine McGinnis, who is in charge of City of London, will attend the conference.
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