Japanese technology giant Softbank's chief operating officer is reportedly set to pull out of this week's Saudi Arabia business summit, as one of the world's biggest tech backers struggles with its controversial ties to the region.
Marcelo Claure is said to have asked organisers of tomorrow's Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh to remove his name from the speakers list and said he will no longer be attending, according to people familiar with the matter speaking with Bloomberg.
It follows the exit of a string of global business and political leaders from the event, nicknamed Davos in the Desert, including JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon and Deutsche Bank chief Christian Sewing, as well as US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK trade secretary Liam Fox.
International ties to the region have been breaking down amid an ongoing investigation into the death of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, which today caused the conference's website to be seemingly hacked. The FII's site temporarily showed a mock-up of Khashoggi being executed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using an Islamic State flag, before being taken down entirely.
A message below the image urged countries to place sanctions on Saudi Arabia, accusing it of financing terrorism.
Several companies backed by Softbank have also dropped out from the conference, including Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi. Softbank's founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son remains on the conference's advisory board, though he has yet to confirm whether he will attend.
The FII conference is organised by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which is the largest backer of Softbank's own $100bn (£77bn) Vision Fund after Salman agreed to plug $45bn into the fund. The Saudi prince has also said he would put the same amount into a second Softbank fund.
Softbank Vision Fund's head Rajeev Misra had initially been listed as a speaker, in addition to Simon Segars, chief executive of Softbank-owned British chipmaker Arm Holdings. The speakers list document is no longer available on the FII's website.
A Softbank spokesperson declined to comment.