Thursday, April 25, 2019
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Despite Killing sees SoftBank boss "responsibility" to invest in Saudi Arabia

Masayoshi Son, chief executive of the SoftBank Group in Japan, said he would continue doing business with Saudi Arabia, even though he denounced the murder of a journalist in a Saudi consulate as a "horrible" event.

The remarks on Monday were Mr. Son's first public remarks on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who came to the Consulate of the Kingdom in Istanbul on 2 October and never came. Turkey has said that Mr. Khashoggi was beaten and tortured before being beheaded and dismembered.

Following these reports, Son Son joined Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Dara Khosrowshahi of Uber to cancel plans to participate in an investment conference, the Future Investment Initiative, scheduled for late October in Riyadh, the Saudi capital was.

Mr. Sohn said that he had expressed concern about the killing of Mr. Khashoggi against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials and asked for "further clarification in this tragic case".

"They said they take this very seriously," Mr. Son said.

However, he made it clear that he would not give up his business interests in Saudi Arabia.

"We want those responsible to be held accountable," Son Son said during a press conference at his company's earnings presentation in Tokyo. "At the same time, we have also taken on responsibility to the people of Saudi Arabia, a commitment that we take very seriously to help them manage their financial resources and diversify their economies."

"As awful as this event was, we can not turn our backs on the Saudi peoples as we work to support them in their continuing efforts to reform and modernize their society," he said.

SoftBank, the Japanese Internet, energy and financial conglomerate, is one of Saudi Arabia's largest business partners. Mr. Son's company manages the SoftBank Vision Fund, a technology investment fund that sought $ 100 billion in investments and pledged $ 45 billion from the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund.

Mr. Son said the companies did not refuse to accept money from his fund because Khashoggi had been killed.

He said there are complicated problems in relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia and between Japan and Saudi Arabia.

He added, "As a businessman, I believe I should not be involved in the political side of such a case."


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