Google, Uber and many prominent names have pulled out of Saudi investor conference

Diane Greene, Google’s head of cloud computing pulled out of FII without explanation.

Surrounding the mysterious disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi Journalist for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, major tech companies, financial firms, and media houses have pulled out from a high-profile conference in Saudi Arabia commonly referred to as Future Investment Initiative (FII). The reason behind this is that it is largely suspected that Saudi Arabia is behind an alleged assassination of Jamal inside of a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

File image of protests outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington. AP

File image of protests outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington. AP

Google was the latest tech company to boycott the conference after Diane Greene, Google’s head of cloud computing pulled out without explanation. Other notable companies which will not be present at the conference include Mastercard (Ajay Banga), JP Morgan (Jamie Dimon) and Standard Chartered (Bill Winters).

In an earlier statement Uber boss, Dara Khosrowshahi said he was “very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi”. He continued "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."

Arianna Huffington, who runs the health firm Thrive Global, Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the LA Times, Virgin founder Richard Branson and the CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin are also notable names that will not be going for the conference which is popularly known as the 'Davos in the Desert'.

FII is the brainchild of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and will be held from 23 - 25 October in Riyadh. The objective of the conference is to portray Saudi Arabia as an emerging leader in the field of technological innovation and many industries in the non-oil sector.

While Saudi Arabia has categorically denied any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, a video outside the Saudi consulate shows him entering the building but never exiting it. On top of that 15 Saudi nationals were seen entering the consulate building after him.

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