Executives from some of the world’s largest corporations are quietly planning to attend a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia set to take place just days after the one-year anniversary of the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi’s disappearance last October sparked a mass exodus from the annual event—informally known as “Davos in the Desert”—as executives worried attendance could harm their companies’ brands.
But the Washington Post reported Monday that, just over a year later, more than 150 executives representing firms like JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Goldman Sachs are back on the list of expected conference attendees.
“The greed of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Citigroup and BlackRock is insatiable. Who cares if the Saudis are starving millions of Yemeni civilians or that our planet faces a climate emergency? Profiting off of $1.5 trillion in Saudi oil is just too important.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink insisted in a LinkedIn post that he is attending the event to push for reform in Saudi Arabia. Critics countered that executives like Fink are hoping the people of the world have forgotten about the gruesome murder of Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi kingdom.
“Corporations like BlackRock may have decided it’s time to move on from the Saudi government’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi, but we haven’t,” tweeted progressive anti-war group CodePink. “Not until there is #JusticeForJamal.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, condemned the “insatiable” greed of corporate executives who are willing to overlook the killing of Khashoggi and the Saudi Kingdom’s war crimes in Yemen to profit off the country’s oil.
The Post reported that over 150 executives—including 40 from U.S. corporations—have confirmed they plan to attend the conference, which is slated to begin Oct. 29.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is also expected to attend.
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