Wednesday 17 October 2018 3:50 pm

Glencore chairman withdraws from dwindling Saudi investor conference


Glencore chairman Tony Hayward has become the latest business leader to pull out of next week's Saudi investor conference as the backlash over the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi intensifies.

The mining and trading giant's chairman joins International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde and Societe Generale chief executive Frederic Oudea in withdrawing from the conference on Wednesday.

Read more: Audio recording emerges of 'murder' of Saudi journalist

The list of speakers and attendees for the Future Investment Initiative event in Riyadh has dwindled significantly in the past few days as more detail emerge surrounding the disappearance of Khashoggi.

The US resident and critic of the Saudi government has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Investigators have since obtained an audio recording of Khashoggi allegedly being murdered inside the consulate, according to sources.

Turkish officials have searched the consulate and sources said a recording reveals Khashoggi was beaten after a brief conversation with Saudi consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi.

A second search, cancelled on Tuesday because Saudi officials were not able to join, is expected to happen later on Wednesday.

Officials also said his body may have been cut into pieces after a Saudi forensics expert instructed others to put headphones in and listen to music.

US President Donald Trump said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman denied having any knowledge of what happened to the Washington Post contributor.

Trump himself said it could have been “rogue killers” and cautioned against rushing to blame Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Two city chiefs withdraw from Saudi conference over journalist's death

Last night London Stock Exchange chief executive David Schwimmer and Catherine McGuinness, the City of London Corporation's policy chair joined the list influential business figures to pull out of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.

They joined execs from Google, HSBC, Credit Suisse and Mastercard who will also no longer be attending.

Other high profile withdrawals have included JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon, Ford chairman Bill Ford and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

London-based Deloitte, EY and PwC are all still listed as “knowledge partners” of the three-day conference and failed to respond when asked if this position had changed.