“The Saudi Public Investment Fund's meeting in Riyadh, which has been dubbed as 'Davos in the Desert', has generated a great deal of misunderstandings,” the World Economic Forum said in a statement amid the Saudi event being hit by a string of prominent cancellations as part of an international outcry over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“While we understand that 'Davos' can be a synonym for summits, the misuse of the 'Davos' name is a great concern as it generates confusion around our mission and our work,” it said.
“The Riyadh event is not connected, linked or in any way associated with the World Economic Forum,” said WEF, which hosts its plush gathering of the world's rich, famous and influential at the luxury Swiss ski resort each January.
Khashoggi, a Saudi national and US resident who became increasingly critical of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has not been seen since he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to sort out marriage paperwork on October 2.
Since his disappearance, a number of business barons, including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowhahi, and media power houses like Bloomberg and CNN, have said they no longer intend to participate.