CNBC is withdrawing from a conference scheduled for next week in Saudi Arabia, as global outrage grows over the disappearance and suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khoshaggi.
“CNBC will no longer participate in the FII in Riyadh due to the continuing questions surrounding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” said a post on the network’s Twitter feed.
CNBC’s decision comes as other luminaries and media outlets pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative, also known as “Davos in the Desert,” which is scheduled for Oct. 23 through 25. Earlier Friday, the Financial Times pulled out of the conference. CNN and The New York Times had also withdrawn, as has Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong.
Times columnist and CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin announced on Twitter that he would withdraw from the conference, citing concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi “and reports of his murder.”
Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi royal family, went missing Oct. 2, when he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia has denied wrongdoing. Yet Turkey has reportedly informed the U.S. that it has video and audio evidence showing Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post, was killed inside the consulate.
Khashoggi had been living in the United States as a voluntary exile from Saudi Arabia.
Several senators, led by Republicans Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham, have triggered a Trump administration investigation into Khashoggi’s whereabouts. The White House has said senior administration officials, including President Donald Trump’s son in law and top advisor Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have been in contact with the crown prince regarding the journalist’s disappearance.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, still plans to attend FII next week.
“We are concerned about what is the status of Mr Khashoggi,” Mnuchin told CNBC on Friday morning. “If more information comes out and changes, we could look at that, but I am planning on going.”