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Threatening to impose economic sanctions and repeating "false accusations" will not undermine the country's standing, said the statement on Saudi Arabia's official press agency, which quoted an "official source".

A SoftBank spokesman declined to confirm if SoftBank executives are still planning to attend next week's conference, which has become the biggest show for investors to promote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform vision.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and Saudi royal insider-turned-critic, went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancée.

SoftBank's near $100bn Vision Fund, the company's venture capital arm leading investments into tech firms such as Uber, WeWork and NVIDIA, has attracted nearly half of its funds from Saudi Arabia.

A White House aide says President Donald Trump is serious when he says there'll be "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia is found to be complicit in the disappearance of USA resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The de-facto ruler of the Gulf kingdom, who is next in line to be king, is cited in the reports as holding an interest in purchasing the historic sporting institution to give his ruling family an investment to rival those of the Abu Dhabi-ruling owners of Manchester City and the Qatari-backed Paris Saint Germain.

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Khashoggi "promised me to sponsor the project and I guess they could listen in to those conversations", he said.

In a column published just after the SPA statement, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel's general manager Turki Aldakhil warned that imposing sanctions on the world's largest oil exporter could spark global economic disaster. "From where we sit, we don't see any demand for Saudi equities at all". Turkish officials fear Khashoggi was killed and dismembered, allegations Saudi officials call "baseless". United States President Donald Trump said on Friday that he will speak to Saudi king Salman on the matter.

Mr Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh's policies, disappeared on 2 October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

In an article titled "Silicon Valley's Saudi Arabia Problem", the New York Times outlines how liberal Silicon Valley tech firms struggle with the issue of taking money from Saudi Arabian investors while ignoring the countries many human rights violations.

'The country that can help us get to the bottom of this is Saudi Arabia, ' he said.


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