October 18, 2018 / 9:10 AM / a month ago

CEO of French group Thales pulls out of Saudi investment conference

Patrice Caine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aerospace and defence group Thales, attends a news conference with Gemalto in Paris, France, December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - Patrice Caine, the chairman and chief executive of French defence electronics group Thales (TCFP.PA), has decided not to attend a Saudi investment conference next week, amid global concerns over the fate of a missing Saudi journalist.

A spokesman for Thales added that the French company would nevertheless be represented at the event, due to be held in Riyadh from Oct 23-Oct 25, by Jean-Loic Galle, who is an executive at Thales’ space division.

The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has raised concerns around the world.

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of the authoritarian kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and his body removed. The Saudis have denied the allegations.

The French state owns 26 percent of Thales while Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) has a 25 percent stake.

Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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