A major investment conference opened in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday amid international boycott over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Organized by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the three-day event aims to draw investments with a view to diversifying the kingdom’s oil-based economy.
Several major banks, corporations
Among boycotters of the conference are World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, billionaire philanthropist and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and British billionaire Richard Branson.
The New York Times, CNN, and CNBC have also announced they would not sponsor the event, and several prominent journalists have said they would not attend.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia last week claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
Saudi King Salman sacked the deputy of the intelligence service and a top aide and ordered the arrest of 18 suspects over the case.
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister admitted on Sunday that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate but argued that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “not aware" of it.
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir claimed that it was a “rogue operation” by individuals who exceeded their responsibilities and later tried to cover things up.