October 18, 2018 / 8:34 PM / a month ago

Goldman Sachs says executives will not attend Saudi conference

The logo of Goldman Sachs is displayed in their office located in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) will not send any of its executives to a Saudi investment conference next week, Chief Executive Officer David Solomon said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday.

A number of top bankers and business leaders, including JP Morgan (JPM.N) CEO Jamie Dimon, have decided not to attend the high-profile event in Riyadh amid mounting international pressure on Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday abandoned plans to attend. [nL8N1WY0MJ]

Solomon said he had not planned to attend and the bank was not sending any senior executives. He said that Dina Powell, a Goldman executive who rejoined the bank earlier this year after serving as an adviser to President Donald Trump, had initially planned to attend but would not.

“This incident is unacceptable and clearly they have to answer questions specifically regarding this incident,” Solomon said. “How they answer those questions and how more information becomes apparent will have an impact on how we all interact.”

Goldman began operating in Riyadh in 2009 and obtained new licenses in 2014 and 2017 that have allowed it to expand. It bought a portion of oil giant Aramco’s $10 billion credit facility last year in an attempt to secure a role in the company’s IPO, which is delayed.

The bank was recently hired by the Saudi’s main sovereign wealth fund, PIF, to advise on the sale of its majority stake in Saudi petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) 2010.SE to Aramco, sources have told Reuters.

Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Paul Simao and Dan Grebler

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