IMF's Lagarde defers trip to Saudi Arabia as crisis continues

IMF chief Christine Lagarde

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde chose to postpone her trip to the Middle East region including the visit to Saudi Arabia amid the scandal around the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an IMF spokesperson said.

The IMF did not give a specific reason but Lagarde is the latest in a long line of speakers and attendees to withdraw from the three-day event as diplomatic tensions mount around Khashoggi's disappearance.

The head of the global monetary Fund Christine Lagarde cancelled a scheduled trip to the Middle East. In response to this, the king of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman has recommended the American leader not to meddle in this case.

On Saturday, during the IMF's annual meetings in Bali, Lagarde had said she would travel to Riyadh for the gathering next week.

It has been alleged that Khashoggi was tortured before being murdered by Saudi agents at the Istanbul consulate.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum - which holds its summits in Davos, Switzerland - has rejected the unofficial "Davos in the Desert" title, which it says has "generated a great deal of misunderstanding".

British billionaire Richard Branson has also announced that his Virgin Group would suspend its discussions with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund over a planned $1bn investment in the group's space ventures in light of Khashoggi's disappearance.

Last night London Stock Exchange chief executive David Schwimmer and Catherine McGuinness, the City of London Corporation's policy chair joined the list influential business figures to pull out of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.

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