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Softbank shares plummet amid concerns over Saudi ties

18 October, 2018, 05:50 | Author: Kristi Dunn
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Saudi Arabia reiterated its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, saying the Kingdom would retaliate against any sanctions with tougher measures, an official source said in a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

"The links of SoftBank Group with Saudi Arabia have helped to lower the action", commented to AFP Yoshihiro Okumura, Chibagin Asset Management. But lately the Saudis have been growing their circle of American enablers, pouring billions into Silicon Valley technology companies.

SoftBank's influence under Chief Executive Masayoshi Son was built through its tech investments around the world, with the company past year raising more than $93 billion to create its Vision Fund - with $45 billion coming from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's has become one of Silicon Valley's biggest swinging checkbooks, working mostly through a raised by SoftBank (a Japanese company), which has swashbuckled its way through the technology industry, often taking multibillion-dollar stakes in promising companies.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and critic of Riyadh's policies, disappeared on October 2 after entering his country's diplomatic mission in Istanbul. "Because of the leadership, because of the location, because of the people in the kingdom, we can make it happen".

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While expressing support for joint Saudi-Turkish efforts to look into his disappearance, they said the Saudi government must provide "a complete and detailed response", indicating that such a message had been conveyed "directly" to Riyadh.

SoftBank shares fell as much as 6.4 per cent in Tokyo yesterday, pushing the decline in market value to about US$19 billion (S$26.2 billion) since its peak this year. Every business leader and news organization of conscience should pull out from the Public Investment Fund-powered conference and suspend any involvement with Saudi-funded projects like Neom - at the very least, until the disappearance and potential murder of Mr. Khashoggi have been suitably investigated, but perhaps beyond that, given the regime's broader human rights record. Media sponsors, including CNN, have also withdrawn from the event, which is known as "Davos in the desert". Former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz and former European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes are among those who have suspended their participation on the advisory board for the city, which is known as NEOM.

The shares recovered 2.88 percent to 9,862 yen by midday on Wednesday, but were still down around 8 percent from a month earlier. They have also taken a hit from a wider sell-off in global tech stocks.


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