Saudi Arabia is under global pressure now, as British billionaire Richard Branson and his Virgin Group decided to suspend its discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Last year, Saudi Arabia’s PIF announced its plans to invest 1 billion dollars in R. Branson’s space company.
An impressive one billion dollars investment in the group’s space ventures has now been halted due to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Branson commented on his decision, saying that “What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government.“He also announced about his directorship’s in two Saudi tourism projects around the Red Sea suspension.
After Mr Branson’s announcement, a number of businesses and media organisations have also pulled out of an upcoming event in Saudi Arabia, which is often called “Davos in the Dessert“. On October 2nd, Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and a prominent critic of Saudi policies, went missing. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, once asked for a comment on Branson’s actions, did not respond immediately. However, Saudi Arabia has denied all criminal suspicions in journalist’s case and claimed that he left the consulate alive and well. Pressure for crown prince’s government increased once Turkish newspaper published names and photographs of 15 Saudi nationals who were introduced as an “assassination squad“ that was sent to carry out journalist’s alleged murder.