Tom Barrack, a billionaire investor in Colony Capital, a friend of President Trump and a fundraiser with Hollywood ties, will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia, a person with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.
Barrack was slated to be on a panel discussion with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin next Thursday in Riyadh. But after Mnuchin pulled out of the conference on Thursday, Barrack’s session was canceled.
He is the latest high-profile speaker to depart the Saudi conference dubbed “Davos in the Desert,” which is still scheduled to take place next week.
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JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford recently dropped out of the summit in Riyadh, after Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi went missing two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Khashoggi’s disappearance and presumed murder has strained the Saudi royal family’s relationship with the West, with Turkish officials telling the New York Times on Wednesday it has audio the journalist was beheaded shortly after entering the consulate on Oct. 2.
President Trump has been hesitant to criticize the Saudi regime while pointing to the country’s wealth and close relationship to the U.S. “That doesn’t help us — not when it comes to jobs and not when it comes to our companies losing out on work,” Trump said last week. Mnuchin’s decision looks to signal the Trump administration’s desire to distance itself from the Saudi royal family.