SoftBank Group's logo at a company function in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: REUTERS/ISSEI KATO
SoftBank Group's logo at a company function in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: REUTERS/ISSEI KATO

Softbank’s close ties with Saudi Arabia are under scrutiny with shares in the company slumping 7% as the Middle East nation comes under increasing pressure over allegations it was involved in the death of a journalist.

The Japanese technology giant’s Vision Fund, a $100bn investment vehicle that has backed companies such as Uber, has close links with Saudi Arabia, a key investor.

However, the Saudi regime has come under fire from business leaders and politicians after Washington Post columnist and critic of the regime Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi vanished on October 2 after entering to obtain documents for his marriage. The Saudi government denies any involvement.

Turkish police have claimed that agents of Saudi Arabia killed Khashoggi.

The rising political tensions have battered shares in Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which fell 7.26% to ¥9,251 ($81.74).

It comes as some of the world’s tech leaders, including Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi, refused to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference, a showcase for investment in the kingdom, held on October 23-25.

Tensions appeared to escalate further on Sunday evening as Bahrain backed a campaign to boycott Uber, saying: “We will boycott those who boycott Saudi Arabia.”

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is in talks for a further injection of $45bn from the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. Saudi Arabia has also invested in electric car giant Tesla. 

The Daily Telegraph

Please sign in or register to comment.