Bahrain’s foreign minister has called for a boycott of Uber after the ride-hailing company’s Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said he will not attend an investment conference in Bahrain’s ally, Saudi Arabia.
Khosrowshahi is among several business leaders who have said they are pulling out of the three-day investment conference slated to take place in Saudi Arabia beginning October 23, amid growing outrage over the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist in Turkey.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom’s policies, has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2.
Turkish officials claim to have evidence that he was killed and dismembered. The Saudis have denied the allegations, but have yet to provide any evidence that Khashoggi is still alive.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund is hosting the Future Investment Initiative or FII conference in Saudi Arabia. Public Investment Fund is also one of Uber’s largest investors, having reportedly invested $3.5 billion in Uber in 2016.
The Saudi are also major investors in Japanese company Softbank’s Vision Fund Vehicle, which is also another big Uber investor.
According to media reports, Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa re-tweeted two hashtags calling for a boycott of Uber in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Others calling for a boycott of Uber on Twitter urged Uber app users to switch to Uber’s ride-hailing rival in the region, Careem.
According to media reports, Ford Motor Co. (F) Chairman Bill Ford and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon have also cancelled their plans to attend the FII conference in Saudi Arabia.
Viacom Inc. CEO Bob Bakish and AOL Co-founder Steve Case have dropped out of the conference too, along with media organizations such as CNN, the New York Times and the Financial Times.
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