Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), listens to a question during a news conference at the IMF and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Washington. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

IMF's Lagarde Defers Trip to Saudi Arabia as Crisis Continues

(Bloomberg) -- The head of the International Monetary Fund deferred her trip to Saudi Arabia, where she had planned to attend an investment conference, adding to a growing number of business and finance leaders who’ve decided to skip the event after the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.

Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s previously scheduled trip to the Middle East is being "deferred," a fund spokesperson said by email. Lagarde had said last week that she still intended to attend the Future Investment Initiative, which opens later this month.

IMF's Lagarde Defers Trip to Saudi Arabia as Crisis Continues

The one-sentence statement from the IMF didn’t give a reason for the change or mention the summit.

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared two weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkey suspects that he was murdered there, according to the New York Times and other media. The Saudi leadership denied any knowledge of his fate, but promised to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after meeting with the kingdom’s leaders.

A string of financial and business leaders has pulled out of the summit, which is organized by the Saudi crown prince, including JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon and Credit Suisse Group AG Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: James Mayger in Beijing at jmayger@bloomberg.net

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