Branson suspends Saudi ties over missing journalist

Sir Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi are among the business leaders to have suspended ties with Saudi Arabia as pressure grows on the Gulf state over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Washington Post columnist, who is a vocal critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has not been seen since he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up a document for his upcoming wedding.
Officials in Turkey claim to have evidence that the 59-year-old was murdered, and Riyadh has come under increased scrutiny from Western allies seeking to get to the bottom of what happened.
Branson suspends Saudi ties over missing journalist

Jamal Khashoggi is feared to be dead
Now - ahead of a marquee conference the kingdom had hoped would attract major overseas investment - several prominent figures have said they will not be attending.Sir Richard has announced he will suspend his role as director in two Saudi tourism projects until the fate of Mr Khashoggi is uncovered.In a statement, the Virgin Group founder said he will also put talks on hold over a proposed investment from the kingdom in his space companies Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.He added: "What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government."

Branson suspends Saudi ties over missing journalist

Khashoggi: Profile of a 'courageous journalist'
The prominent writer once likened the Saudi crown prince to Vladimir Putin

Mr Khosrowshahi was due speak at the Future Investment Initiative conference, which starts on 23 October, but he has said he will not attend "unless a substantially different set of facts emerges" about the disappearance.The Financial Times and CNN have both cancelled their media partnerships with the event, and The New York Times and CNBC have pulled out of panels they had planned to attend.Each of the withdrawals will come as a major blow for the crown prince, who has sought to position Saudi Arabia as a larger, more modern power on the global stage since he took the throne.His ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 project aims to reduce its dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop healthcare, education, infrastructure and tourism, but is highly reliant on support from abroad.
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