James Gorman tells World Economic Forum that businesses must engage with Saudi reforms despite ‘unacceptable’ murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive James Gorman speaks during the Institute of International Finance Annual Meeting in Washington (Reuters)
Thursday 24 January 2019
The detention of scores of Saudi royals and businessmen in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton, where some were reportedly tortured, may be one of the most creative and efficient ways of tackling corruption, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman said on Thursday.
Speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gorman, CEO and chairman of the major investment bank, said businesses should not be dissuaded from engaging with Saudi Arabia despite the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was utterly unacceptable,” Gorman said as he responded to questions on a panel.
“But what do you do? What part do you play in the process of economic and social change?”
When probed about the detentions in the Ritz-Carlton, where more than 200 of the kingdom’s elite were held until they agreed to hand over a proportion of their assets to the government, Gorman said he did not judge any country’s attempts to root out corruption.
Many of the country’s most powerful and successful businessmen were held in the luxury hotel, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has long had investments in major projects across the globe.
There are many countries that are tackling corruption issues in lots of creative ways. That is certainly one of the most creative. You could argue one of the most efficient- James Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO and chairman
Some of those detained were members of a branch of the Saudi royal family deemed a rival to the one in power.
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the son of the late King Abdullah and once seen as a possible crown prince, was tortured and beaten alongside other royals and businessmen, sources told Middle East Eye at the time.