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Riyadh conference: Wall Street is back in Saudi Arabia despite new human rights violations



BlackRock ( BLK ) CEO Larry Fink, HSBC HSBC CEO John Flint and JPMB ( JPM ) Daniel Pinto, Chief Operating Officer, all appeared on the stage of a financial conference organized by the Saudi government. Morgan Stanley's [ MS ) Asia CEO Chin Chou was also present.
The executed Saudi citizens were all convicted of terrorist crimes, and one was crucified after execution, official Saudi news agency said Tuesday. According to Amnesty International, the majority of men rejected the country's Shiite Muslim minority. She dismissed the trials as "fictitious cases that violated international fair trials based on torture-enforced confessions."
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned the mass executions in a statement posted on Wednesday on Twitter . "At least 3 [of the men] were minors when they were convicted and one of the men's bodies was publicly displayed," her office said.

None of the financial managers was asked on the conference platform for human rights. JPMorgan declined to comment. The other companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A horror in relations with foreign companies and investors, which followed the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, had recently thawed.

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And the scene in Riyadh was very different on Wednesday Six months ago, when a public outcry over Saudi Arabian agents' killing of Khashoggi drew dozens of senior global CEOs and media organizations from an investment conference. Saudi prosecutors are calling for the death penalty for five of the eleven suspects accused of killing Khashoggi.
Under the name "Davos in the Desert", the event was presented in October by Bin Salman's Vision 2030 by Crown Prince Mohammed Economy in the next decade with the help of foreign investment. Billionaire Richard Branson retired from two tourism projects and suspended talks with the Saudi government over a $ 1 billion investment in Virgin's space companies. Since then, no major deals have been announced with western companies.

Saudi Arabia has been trying in recent months to save its image as an open-minded country.

Goldman Sachs ( GS ) CEO David Solomon is due to visit Riyadh in early April, just days before the bank announced the sale of a bond sale to a state-owned Saudi oil company $ 12.5 billion helped Aramco.
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HSBC, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley also worked on this deal, where demand for international bonds for Aramco bonds rose to over $ 100 billion.

BlackRock boss Larry Fink told the Riyadh conference that his company had bought some of the Aramco bonds and was looking for other "opportunities" in the kingdom.

Even before the executions were known, Saudi Arabia faced criticism once again about its human rights record. Last month, 36 countries signed an open letter calling for the release of activists, including women imprisoned for "exercising their fundamental freedoms".


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