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17 Okt 2018

Jethro Mullen, CNN Business

The head of the IMF is skipping Saudi Arabia's investment conference

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... The IMF said in a statement late Tuesday that Managing Director Christine Lagarde's trip to the Middle East for the conference next week "is being deferred." It's an abrupt change of position from Lagarde, who said as recently as Saturday that she still planned to speak at the event in Riyadh despite being horrified by reports about Khashoggi's disappearance. BNP Paribas (BNPQY), France's largest bank by assets, said Wednesday that Chairman Jean Lemierre will no longer attend. Société Générale (SCGLY) CEO Fréderic Oudéa also dropped out Wednesday. Both were listed as speakers as recently as last week... The Saudi conference, officially titled the Future Investment Initiative, is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious plan to revamp the country's oil-dependent economy... Japanese tech group SoftBank (SFTBF) has failed to respond to repeated requests for comment about the attendance of several of its senior executives, including CEO and founder, Masayoshi Son. The company has become one of the world's most powerful tech investors, thanks to Saudi money. SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure said Tuesday at a tech event in California that the company is "anxiously looking at what is happening" in relation to Khashoggi's disappearance, according to Reuters.