JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford have pulled out of a Saudi investor conference as political tensions surrounding missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi rumble on.
US President Donald Trump said he would immediately send his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet the Saudi King Salman, after the Kingdom denied any knowledgeof Khashoggi's disappearance.
Dimon and Ford join Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, Viacom boss Bob Bakish and AOL founder Steve Case on the high-profile list of withdrawals from the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh later this month.
Billionaire businessman Richard Branson also suspended talks with the Saudi government over investment in his Virgin Galactic space tourism venture.
Saudi stocks rallied on Monday after falling 3.5 per cent the previous day after oil prices rose – the Tandawul exchange closed up 4.1 per cent.
Khashoggi, a US resident and critic of the Saudi government, has not been seen since he visited the Saudi consulate in Turkey on 2 October.
A joint Turkish and Saudi team is expected to search the consulate this afternoon after Turkish officials feared the journalist had been killed there.
Diplomatic and economic tensions grew on Sunday when US President Donald Trump threatened “severe punishment” if the kingdom was found to be involved in the Washington Post contributor's disappearance.
The Saudi government rejected the threats and said it would retaliate to any economic sanctions with “greater action” and stressed the kingdom's importance to the global economy.
Britain, France and Germany issued a strongly-worded joint statement on Sunday night demanding a “credible investigation”.
An internal investigation has now been launched, Saudi official said on Monday.