3 Wall Street CEOs tried to get Saudi Arabia to delay a major investment conference because of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance
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- Three high-profile Wall Street CEOs reportedly attempted to convince Saudi Arabian officials to push back their Future Investment Initiative conference
- The push by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman came amid backlash to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime, disappeared earlier this month in Turkey after entering the Saudi consulate. Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia's government of involvement in his death.
- Business leaders and media partners have pulled out of FII due to Khashoggi's disappearance.
- Dimon, Fink, and Schwarzman also attempted to convince Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to make his attendance at FII contingent on the Saudis offering more information on Khashoggi.
- The trio of CEOs announced they would not attend the conference after their attempts to delay the event failed.
Three of Wall Street's leading CEOs tried to convince Saudi Arabia's government to delay a major investment conference amid the fallout from the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but ultimately were unsuccessful in their attempt.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman attempted to convince the Saudis to push back the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in the country's capital of Riyadh, according to a report in the New York Times.
FII, which is scheduled for October 23 to 25, is meant to drum up investors' support for the Saudis' Public Investment Fund and interest in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 plan, which would reshape the country's economy and ease dependency on oil revenue.
The plan is heavily contingent on international investment and Salman, colloquially known as MBS, has been courting American celebrities, politicians, and financiers over the past few years to bring in capital.
In addition to appealing to the Saudis directly, the trio of Wall Street titans also attempted to pressure Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin into making his appearance at FII contingent on the Saudis revealing more information about Khashoggi's disappearance. That approach has also failed, as Mnuchin reiterated his intention to attend the conference on Friday.
After their failed attempts, Dimon announced his intent to drop out of the conference Friday, while Schwarzman and Fink confirmed their decision on Monday to the Times.
All three companies have significant financial ties to Saudi Arabia. Salman told Reuters in October 2017 that Blackstone, Schwarzman's firm, and BlackRock, Fink's firm, committed to opening offices in Riyadh.
Khashoggi's disappearance has caused international furor and created a rift between the US and Saudi Arabia. The journalist was a critic of the Saudi regime and wrote for The Washington Post.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on October 2. According to reports, MBS ordered Saudi officials to bring Khashoggi back to the country but during the attempt the journalist was killed.
Saudi Arabia has denied any role and claims Khashoggi left the consulate.
President Donald Trump told "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday there would be "severe punishment" if the Saudis killed Khashoggi, but softened his stance Monday morning.
"Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened 'to our Saudi Arabian citizen.' He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer," Trump said. "I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!"
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