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By Claire Atkinson
Masayoshi Son, billionaire founder and CEO of Japan's SoftBank, said Monday that he did not turn his back on investments with Saudi Arabia, despite The murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
SoftBank, which has a stake in Sprint and Uber among other American companies, is one of the world's largest technology investors through the Vision Fund. The fund has $ 1
"These funds are important for the Saudi people to ensure their economies diversify and are no longer dependent on oil," said the son during the company's earnings call on Monday, talking about Saudi Arabia's rebranding to a hub for international business, finance and technology to meet the needs of the king's young people.
It is true that a terrible event occurred, "he noted." On the other hand, we have a responsibility towards the Saudi people and we must do our responsibilities instead of turn their backs on them. "
Major banks and foreign companies have been divided on what to do with Saudi investments, characterized by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or MBS, as the de facto ruler is known.
The son has been under pressure since the murder. As he supported the Future Investment Initiative, an annual conference aimed at showing Saudi Arabia's business initiatives with foreign investors known as "Davos in the Desert," the son had not said anything about the further relationship between the two units until day.
Larry Fink, Managing Director of BlackRock, handles $ 6 trillion in assets, also withdrawn from the conference – but said last week he had lost no business from Saudi Arabia. Speaking to Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook conference, Fink said he would not cut ties.
"Remember, it's a big country. There are many nice people in the country," he said, explaining that such situations were not black and white.
SoftBank is far from the only company that has taken millions from Saudi- Arabia. In May, Endeavor, holding company of Hollywood's WME talent agency, said it was in talks to return an investment of $ 400 million from the supreme securities fund.
Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he "probably would not" take Saudi Arabian money. Saudiene bought nearly 5 percent of the Tesla shares in the open market earlier this year, giving them a multibillion dollar share in the electric car company – and Musk believed that Saudi banks would also want to bankroll take Tesla privately.
However, the World Wrestling Entertainment League has pushed on its business in the country and held its "Crown Jewel" pay-per-view event in Riyadh last week.