Saudi Arabia to sign deals worth $50bn as Future Investment Initiative begins

Postado Outubro 23, 2018

The official website of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), a major conference that starts today in Riyadh, was hacked on Monday by unknown actors.

"Nobody in the kingdom can justify it [Khashoggi's killing] or explain it", he said.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters earlier Monday that Saudi Arabia must bring those responsible for the journalist's killing to justice and that its explanations so far aren't credible.

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia's crown prince, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

Saudi officials at the conference said the total value of the deals announced there topped $50 billion. Later, a Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior ministers from Britain and France pulled out of the event along with chief executives or chairmen of about a dozen big financial firms such as JP Morgan Chase and HSBC, and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

Canada's prime minister has said he is unlikely to cancel the sale of armored personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia, despite growing pressure to hold Riyadh accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi government plans a public signing ceremony for some of the deals - mostly memorandums of understanding rather than final investment decisions - during the conference, in what appears to be an effort to shore up confidence among worldwide business leaders.

Others are still sending strong representation.

Russian Federation sent a large delegation led by Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriev, who said Saudi Arabia's economic transformation was "important for the world" and that partnerships between sovereign wealth funds was a "great opportunity".

"Saudi Arabia is a great partner for us, not just a partner in investments or oil. we believe modernization and transformation in Saudi Arabia is truly historic".

Top executives of Asian firms have been hesitant to pull out, so the participation of Chinese and Japanese institutions may help Riyadh claim the three-day conference as a success. But that figure has not been verified, and details of the alleged crimes were never made public, fuelling investors' concern about legal transparency.