Dimon, Fink pulling out of Saudi conference

The head of the biggest American bank is backing out of a high-profile financial conference hosted by Saudi Arabia as criticism of the kingdom mounts over its possible role in the disappearance of a journalist.

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Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, is one of many prominent financial and business leaders refusing to attend the Future Investment Initiative, set for Oct. 23 to Oct. 25 in Riyadh, according to Reuters.

Besides Dimon, Stephen Schwarzman, head of Blackstone Group, the world’s largest manager of alternative investments, is out. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, has withdrawn, as has Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford.

Turkey’s government says Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and U.S. resident, entered the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 and has not been heard from since. Turkish authorities say he was killed in the Istanbul consulate by a Saudi hit squad and his body dismembered and disposed of. Ankara also says video and audio recordings exist that prove the journalist was killed. Saudi Arabia denies the claim.

In addition, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have withdrawn from the conference. Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to refuse to attend.

Uber Technologies CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, AOL co-founder Steve Case and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish have also decided not to attend.

News outlets that have decided to not attend include the New York Times, CNN and the Financial Times.