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Google Cloud Chief Diane Greene Backs Out Of Saudi Conference

The decision comes as questions surface around the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

Google said that Diane Greene, the tech giant’s cloud leader, will not be attending a conference in Saudi Arabia as questions swirl around the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We can confirm Diane Greene will not be attending the FII Summit,” a Google spokesperson told CRN, referring to the Future Investment Initiative, a gathering of high-powered executives from the tech and investment worlds later this month in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The conference is hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who’s now caught up in a global firestorm over Khashoggi’s whereabouts. Reports have alleged that Khashoggi was killed by a hit squad after entering the Saudi consulate in Instanbul, Turkey, earlier this month, according to anonymous Turkish officials.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia was preparing a statement that said the columnist was killed by accident in an interrogation gone wrong. President Donald Trump said the crown prince has denied any involvement in the disappearance of the columnist. Trump himself suggested that Khashoggi, who had been critical of the Saudi regime, might have been a victim of “rogue killers.”

Greene was not the first business leader to back out of the Riyadh conference. Other executives, including the CEOs of Blackstone Group, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Uber and Ford Motor Co., also withdrew from the gathering.

Google had planned to build five “innovation hubs” in Saudi Arabia. The hubs would focus on providing educational and technical materials and advanced technology curricula, according to one report.

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