Blog note: “Follow da’ money!” “Big-Big Money Goes Around the World!” NEOM Babylon’s funding and financing will continue undeterred and unabated. End of note.
HSBC chief: it is hard to disengage from Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi death
Murder unlikely to have much impact on trade and foreign investment, says John Flint
The Guardian. Julia Kollewe. Mon 29 Oct 2018 08.01 EDT
The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is unlikely to have much impact on trade and foreign investment in Saudi Arabia, according to John Flint, the chief executive of HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank. “I understand the emotion around the story but it is very difficult to think about disengaging from Saudi Arabia, given its importance to global energy markets,” Flint said.
Flint was one of several banking chief executives who pulled out of an investment conference in Riyadh last week, along with Tidjane Thiam of Credit Suisse, Bill Winters of Standard Chartered and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase. However, Samir Assaf, the head of HSBC’s global banking and markets, attended the event. Flint said: “My decision [to pull out] was not an easy decision but I felt it was the right thing to do under the circumstances.” He defended the bank’s decision to send Assaf to the conference, saying it had a responsibility to its 4,000 employees and many customers in Saudi Arabia, where HSBC is the biggest foreign bank through its 40% holding in Saudi British Bank.
Flint hinted at future investment in the Middle East, saying: “We are a significant part of the banking system in many parts of the region … We will build our businesses as the opportunities arise.”
The conference was shunned by most western business leaders amid an international outcry over the Saudi regime’s involvement in the dissident journalist’s death – but it concluded with $50bn (£38.9bn) of deals signed. Saudi Aramco signed 15 deals worth $34bn with the French oil firm Total and the US oil services firms Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger, as well as companies from Japan, China, India and the United Arab Emirates.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, vanished on 2 October after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi officials have admitted he was killed by a team of agents sent from Riyadh.
Categories: Babylon NEOM