Money talks: Top US firms to visit Saudi business forum ignoring alleged grisly murder of critic
Goldman Sachs, Pepsi, Thales and EDF senior executives are all expected to attend Saudi Arabia’s business forum, dubbed as the 'Davos of the Desert' next week. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also coming. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting the forum to hold talks Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The event is also sponsored by consultancy firms McKinsey, PWC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, BCG, Oliver Wyman, and Bain & Company. The conference has been a magnet for financiers, corporate giants and government leaders, and usually boasts a list of attendees similar to those seen at Davos every year.
‘Davos of the Desert’ will be held at the time when Turkish authorities have claimed they have proof that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia has dismissed the accusations as “lies.”
When Khashoggi’s disappearance first hit the headlines a week ago, some companies dropped out of the event, including Uber, HP and Viacom.
Oil and money make Saudi Arabia an unlikely target of American sanctions, analysts have noted. “Saudi Arabia is a top buyer of American weapons. This gives America about $120 billion a year in revenues. The US does not want to lose such a client,” Gaidar Gasanov, analyst at the International Financial Center told RT.
A possible conflict with the Saudis would also send oil prices skyrocketing, something that the White House doesn’t want, the analyst added.
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