Saudi worries throw future of second Softbank Vision Fund into doubt

Fear the worst Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Fear the worst Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Long before the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, the kingdom has sought influence in the West - perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is.

It has been hit by cancellations since news emerged that Mr Khashoggi, a critic of his home country and writer for the Washington Post, has not been seen since visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Germany, Britain and France issued a joint statement over the weekend expressing "grave concern" and calling for a credible investigation to ensure those responsible for the disappearance "are held to account". Benchmark Brent crude is trading at around $80 a barrel, and Trump has criticized OPEC and Saudi Arabia over rising prices. Trump announced he'd dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the kingdom - and anywhere else necessary - to get to the bottom of the apparent demise of Khashoggi, a Saudi who had been living and working in the United States. Saudi officials claim that the journalist left the embassy but Turkish officials say he may have been murdered inside the consulate by Saudi agents.

It is estimated that at present the Saudi share in Uber - through its direct investment and the SoftBank stake - is around 14 percent.

The possible murder of Khashoggi, a USA permanent resident in self-imposed exile who had written critically against the Saudi monarchy, has generated a far stronger worldwide backlash against the kingdom than the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has caused widespread starvation in the already impoverished Arab country. "That lets us both go faster", Segars said. Rubio said U.S. -Saudi relations may need to be "completely revised" and stressed the U.S. would lose credibility on human rights if the Trump administration remained silent.

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European leaders followed in demanding answers from the Saudi government, in a joint statement on Sunday.

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Saudi Arabia has pledged to retaliate economically for any USA punitive action. Ford Motor Co said Chairman Bill Ford has canceled his trip to the Middle East, which included an appearance at the Saudi investment conference.

A SoftBank spokesman declined to confirm whether SoftBank executives will attend next week's conference. Trump said he didn't "want to get into (Salman's) mind", but told reporters: "it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers".

Saudis know they must act fast on Khashoggi probe, says Pompeo
Khashoggi had fled the country past year amid the rise of Prince Mohammed, whom he wrote critically about in the Post . How is Turkey's investigation progressing? It's unclear if Turkey offered him the chance to hear any such recordings.

"It's being investigated, it's being looked at very, very strongly", Trump said.

And Rubio said that no US government officials should be attending the Saudi conference until they get some official answers about what happened.

The furor over Khashoggi has dealt a serious setback to Prince Mohammed's aggressive pitch for the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. But Khashoggi's disappearance has led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of the upcoming investment conference in Riyadh called the Future Investment Initiative.

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