Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

SoftBank's Saudi Ties Unnerve Investors as Shares Drop 8 Percent

SoftBank's Saudi Ties Unnerve Investors as Shares Drop 8 Percent

Late in the day, there were published reports that the Saudis were preparing to concede that Khashoggi, a US -based Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, had been killed in an interrogation gone wrong.

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom also ramped up pressure on Sunday, vowing to identify those responsible for Khashoggi's fate and hold them accountable for their actions. "We're going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment".

But he has said repeatedly that he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have said he should - because it would harm the US economically.

But Switzerland would only be obliged to follow suit if the United Nations chose to take punitive measures, he added.

Swiss exports include mainly pharmaceutical products, watches and machinery, while Saudi oil exports to European countries indirectly cover about 60% of Switzerland's crude oil imports.

Saudi Arabia's shares plunged as much as 7 percent on Sunday as investors anxious about deteriorating relations with the worldwide community after the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Switzerland's Finance Minister Ueli Maurer has signed an agreement with his Saudi Arabian counterpart on double taxation between the two countries.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin still plans to attend a previously scheduled Saudi conference this week to address terrorist financing, but those plans could change as the investigation progresses, said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. But Khashoggi's disappearance has led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of the upcoming investment conference in Riyadh called the Future Investment Initiative. "First and most importantly, we believe tech names will remain under selling pressure, leaving Vision Fund's paper profits on names like Nvidia vulnerable to big under-performance relative to the fund's targets".

Windsor welcomes Princess Eugenie for royal wedding redux
Trevor Engelson has married long-time girlfriend Tracey Kurland in a low-key L.A. ceremony, which took place at the weekend. Jack proposed to Eugenie, whose mum is Sarah, the Duchess of York, with a padparadscha sapphire ring surrounded by diamonds.

U.S. senators called for reactions ranging from boycotting an upcoming economic summit in Riyadh to ending support for Saudi military operations in Yemen. "We are just monitoring".

Trump has threatened "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, although he has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia. If that target is achieved, the Saudi share could be worth around $16 billion.

Senators have triggered a provision of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the president to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross human rights violation.

The crisis has polarized Saudis, with some blaming the nation's enemies and others concerned about the direction the country is heading under Prince Mohammed.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reviewed the US intelligence into what happened to Khashoggi, has said, "The likelihood is he was killed on the day he walked into the consulate".

Turkish officials say they fear Saudi agents killed Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

"But Turkey is determined on the subject of entering the consulate and carrying out a criminal inspection. Time is important in terms of evidence", the official said.

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