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The companies who have backed away from Saudi business over Khashoggi

Mohammed Bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

A number of companies and individuals are backing away from doing business with Saudi Arabia until more answers are provided on the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who unnamed Turkish officials believe was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. There is speculation that Khashoggi's disappearance is connected to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

The big picture: Many of the world's largest prospective financial deals involve Saudi Arabia and are predicated on trust in MBS as a reformer.

Companies and individuals pulling out of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), a massive conference colloquially known as "Davos in the Desert," to be hosted by MBS and the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund on October 23-25:

  • The New York Times columnist Andrew Sorkin. The Times has pulled its sponsorship of the conference.
  • Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, per CNBC.
  • The Economist editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes.
  • Media mogul Arianna Huffington, who has also resigned her position on the advisory board for the conference.
  • Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of the LA Times, per the Daily Beast.
  • CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times and Bloomberg have all withdrawn as media sponsors.
  • Japanese media company Nikkei has withdrawn from the event, per CNN.
  • Viacom CEO Bob Bakish will not attend, per NBC News.
  • Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and chairman of Case Foundation, tweeted he is putting his "plans on hold" to speak at the conference.
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a statement: "I'm very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi. We are following the situation closely, and unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won't be attending the FII conference in Riyadh."
  • World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, per the Financial Times.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Ford chairman Bill Ford, and MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga have all announced they are no longer attending, per CNBC.
  • Sotheby's CEO Tad Smith, per Bloomberg.
  • General David Petraeus, chairman of the KKR Global Institute, per Reuters.
  • Sinovation Ventures CEO Kai-Fu Lee, per CNN.
  • Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, per CNBC.
  • Virgin Hyperloop One's CEO Rob Lloyd, a spokesperson confirmed to Axios.
  • HSBC CEO John Flint, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, and Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters, per WSJ.
  • David Bonderman, co-founder and chairman of TPG Capital, according to a source familiar with the situation.
  • President of the New York Stock Exchange Stacey Cunningham, citing scheduling conflict with SEC market data roundtable.
  • Brad Keywell, co-founder and CEO of Uptake Technologies (also co-founded Groupon).
  • Billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who tells Axios he had canceled prior to the Khashoggi situation.
  • Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android and current CEO of Essential.

Notable companies and individuals who are still attending FII:

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he still plans to attend the conference. He will decide by Friday if that will remain the case, per the NY Times.
  • Fox Business told NBC News that its attendance is "under review." Anchor Maria Bartiromo is slated to appear at the conference.
  • Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser, per CNN.
  • EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy, per CNN.

Companies and individuals cutting business ties:

  • Richard Branson, billionaire entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group, announced Thursday that he will suspend his directorships of two Saudi tourism projects and is suspending talks of a $1 billion investment with the country: "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."
  • Ernest Moniz, former energy secretary under President Obama, is suspending his involvement advising Saudi Arabia on a $500 billion smart city project.
  • Neelie Kroes, a NEOM board member and former vice president of the European Commission, told the WSJ she would be suspending her role in the project until more is known.
  • Hollywood agency Endeavor Content is reportedly pulling out of a $400 million investment deal with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, per the Hollywood Reporter.
  • BGR Group, a lobbying firm, is no longer working for Saudi Arabia, according to Jeffrey Birnbaum, president of BGR's public relations division, per the The Daily Beast.

Be smart: As Axios' Dan Primack writes, it's "much easier to bail on a conference than it is to unwind complex and lucrative business relationships."

Go deeper: Primack and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof discuss the Khashoggi news on Axios' Pro Rata Podcast.

This is an updating list.