MultiBillionaire CEO of SoftBank says he will not turn his back on Saudi investment

“These funds are important for the Saudis to diversify their economy and no longer depend on oil,” Son said.

Masayoshi Son, founder and billionaire CEO of SoftBank of Japan, said on Monday that he was not ignoring investments with Saudi Arabia, despite the assassination of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.

SoftBank, which holds stakes in Sprint and Uber among other US companies, is one of the world’s largest technology investors through its Vision Fund. The fund has $ 100 billion, about half of it in Saudi Arabia, and it participates in several new companies, as well as in companies like We Work and Slack.

“These funds are important for the Saudis to diversify their economy and no longer depend on oil,” Son said during the company’s request for results on Monday, citing Saudi Arabia. A center for international trade, finance, and technology. Satisfy the needs of the young population of the kingdom.

“It is true that a horrible incident occurred,” he said. “On the other hand, we have a responsibility to the Saudi people and we must take our responsibility instead of turning our backs on them.”

The big banks and foreign companies divided on the way forward with respect to Saudi investments, defended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Your son has been under pressure since the murder. By withdrawing from the Future Investment Initiative, an annual conference to present Saudi Arabia’s business initiatives with foreign investors and known as “Davos in the desert,” he had not talked about the relationship that remained until today.

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, which manages assets worth $ 6 trillion, also pulled out of the conference but said he had not lost any business from Saudi Arabia last week. Speaking to Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook conference at the New York Times, Fink said he would not cut the ties.

“Keep in mind that this is a big country, there are a lot of good people in the country,” he said, explaining that such situations were not in black and white.

SoftBank is far from being the only company that has withdrawn millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia. Last month, Endeavor, the WME holding company based in Hollywood, announced plans to negotiate a $ 400 million investment from the sovereign wealth fund.

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he “probably would not take” money from Saudi Arabia. The Saudis bought almost 5 percent of Tesla’s shares in the open market earlier this year, giving them a multibillion-dollar stake in the electric car company. Musk thought the Saudis would also finance Tesla privately.

The World Wrestling Entertainment league, however, continued its activities in the country by organizing its paid event “Crown Jewel” in Riyadh last week.