Siemens’s chief executive said today he would not attend a three-day Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia after the country admitted that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been killed in its consulate in Istanbul.
The German engineering giant was one of the last companies to decide against sending its top executive to the conference after Riyadh sought to cover up Khashoggi’s 2 October death before admitting to a “grave mistake”, Reuters reported.
“Siemens is a reliable and committed partner of the kingdom and its VISION 2030. But for now, truth needs to be found out and justice applied,” Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said in a statement posted on his LinkedIn account outlining his motivation not to travel to the conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
“Time will tell how things will develop. And I do hope there will be clarity, transparency and justice sooner rather than later,” he said.
Khashoggi’s killing in Istanbul had been “monstrously planned”, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK party said today. An adviser to Turkey’s president rejected Riyadh’s assertion that Khashoggi died in a fight, suggesting this “mocked” international opinion.
Three European powers – Germany, Britain and France – pressed Saudi Arabia to present all the facts in the killing, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said over the weekend that Germany would not export arms to Saudi Arabia while uncertainty over Khashoggi’s fate persisted.
Many business executives including the heads of Deutsche Bank, Uber Technologies and Siemens rival ABB have dropped out of Riyadh’s Future Investment Initiative conference amid outrage about Khashoggi’s fate.