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SoftBank Chief Is Said to Have Canceled Appearance at Saudi Conference

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LONDON — The chief executive of the SoftBank Group, Masayoshi Son, one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest business partners, has canceled his appearance at an investment conference in Riyadh, the latest fallout from the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a person briefed on the matter said Tuesday.

Word of Mr. Son’s decision not to attend came on Tuesday, the first day of the conference. A representative for SoftBank, the Japanese internet, energy and financial conglomerate, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

High-profile executives from around the world have steadily pulled out of the conference as the furor has grown over Mr. Khashoggi’s killing this month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The controversy over Mr. Khashoggi’s death has put Mr. Son and SoftBank in a difficult position. The Saudi government is providing $45 billion of nearly $100 billion in SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the biggest technology investment fund on record. That investment vehicle, which is meant to take stakes in scores of start-ups working on technology like artificial intelligence, is a critical part of SoftBank’s future.


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