As outrage over the disappearance of a well known and respected Saudi journalist continues to grow the number of media companies involved in a Saudi investment conference grows smaller. The outrage over the disappearance Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi policies has caused media companies to start separating themselves from the Saudi investment conference. The last time there was any sign of Jamal Khashoggi alive he was seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2. Ten days later he still has not been seen again and there are no videos that show him ever leaving the consulate which has led many to speculate that whatever happened to him had to happen at the Saudi consulate.
Jamal Khashoggi was a U.S. resident who wrote columns for the Washington Post. Ever since word of his disappearance became known by the public there has been a shadow hanging over the three day conference known as “Davos in the desert.” The event is scheduled to start on October 23. Before the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, some of the world’s biggest names when it comes to business were attracted to the event. Since the disappearance of the Washington Post writer, the event has lost The New York Times as a media sponsor. The Financial Times may soon be pulling out as well after they review their involvement as a media partner. Chief Executive Officer of Uber Technologies Inc. , Dara Khosrowshahi has made it known that he has no intent of attending the vent under the current circumstances. The CEO of Viacom, Bob Bakish, was expected to speak at the event, but he has pulled out as well. One of AOL’s founders, Steve Case, also will no longer be attending the event.
It was announced Wednesday that former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has suspended his part in Saudi Arabia’s planned mega business zone NEOM until there is more information known about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. He had been named the day before he suspended his role as one of the 18 people who were advising the $500 billion NEOM project. He was followed by The Harbour Group, a firm based out of Washington that had been advising Saudi Arabia since April of 2017. Their managing director, Richard Mintz, announced Thursday that they had terminated their business relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Turkish officials have claimed that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate where he was last seen when he went to pick up the documents for his arranged marriage. Saudi officials have tried to defend themselves against the heat of suspicion as they have said that there is nothing for the allegations that Turkish officials have made to be based upon.