SoftBank's Saudi ties unnerve investors

18 October, 2018, 06:34 | Author: Sally Reid
  • Saudi journalist disappearance Riyadh rejects ‘threats’ warns of retaliation in case of sanctions

Trump has said he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia because, he maintained, it would harm US manufacturers. Turkish officials say they believe Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi and say Turkey has audio and video recordings of it.

"The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations that will not undermine the Kingdom and its staunch positions and Arab, Islamic and global status, the outcome of these weak endeavours, like their predecessors, is a demise", the country's press agency said, citing an "official source".

Flake said if the Saudis did, in fact, kill Khashoggi, Congress might specifically curtail US military aid to Saudi-led forces in Yemen.

"I don't think any of our government officials should be going and pretending it's business as usual until we know what's happened here", said Rubio, R-Fla.

Long before the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, the kingdom has sought influence in the West - perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is.

Concern over the disappearance has seen a growing number of attendees pull out of the "Davos in the Desert" investment conference, which has become the biggest show for investors to promote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform vision.

SoftBank's near $100bn Vision Fund, the company's venture capital arm leading investments into tech firms such as Uber, WeWork and NVIDIA, has attracted nearly half of its funds from Saudi Arabia.

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But the president has also said "we would be punishing ourselves" by canceling arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

"It's cumulative - the Yemen war, the dispute with Qatar, the tensions with Canada and Germany, the arrests of women activists". In response, executives at some major US companies announced they would no longer attend the "Davos in the Desert" conference hosted by the country.

A SoftBank spokesman declined to confirm whether SoftBank executives will attend next week's conference. That would be an unprecedented breach in a decades-old, deep economic and security relationship that is key to Washington's policies in the Middle East. At the closing press conference of the International Monetary Fund meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday he said he still planned on going. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told CNN on Sunday.

"Just because they are an ally in an important mission, which is containing Iranian expansion in the region, can not allow us to overlook or walk away from that".

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake, members of the Foreign Relations Committee, have said Congress is prepared to move quickly and firmly if Trump fails to adequately respond to Khashoggi's disappearance.

The Saudi stock market dropped by 7% on Sunday after Trump threatened of "severe punishment" which spooked investors.

"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be difficult" the Turkish official said.

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