100 global business chiefs confirmed for Saudi PIF gathering

Updated 22 October 2018
0

100 global business chiefs confirmed for Saudi PIF gathering

  • Business chiefs and technology innovators to gather in Riyadh
  • Annual meet reflect's Kingdom's technological ambitions

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has confirmed more than 100 global investors, CEOs and disruptive innovators as speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh next month.
The meeting which debuted last year, will run between Oct. 23 to Oct. 25 and focus on three core themes of Investing in Transformation, Technology as Opportunity and Advancing Human Potential.
Last year’s event made global headlines when a robot called “Sophia” took to the stage and engaged in an entertaining exchange with the host. Her appearance underscored the Kingdom’s ambitions to become a driving force in artificial intelligence and robotics as part of a push to add high tech jobs and diversify away from oil.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase is among the speakers attending the FII.
He said: “Technology is the greatest thing that has ever happened to mankind. Artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning are helping JPMorgan Chase reduce risk and fraud, upgrade service, improve underwriting and enhance marketing across the firm. We know technology has been a great force, and for the benefit of all of us, that force should not be left unleashed.”
Nicknamed “Davos in the Desert,” a reference to the annual gathering of thought leaders at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the FII attracts both established industry titans and emerging entrepreneurs working in disruptive sectors.
Next month’s event will explore a number of subjects, including how leaders from business and government can develop a collective vision for the future, how venture capital is changing the future of innovation, and how immersive technology is changing the way we live, work and create.
Among the speakers set to attend the event are BlackRock boss Larry Fink, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Uber Technologies.
IMF president Christine Lagarde will also make an appearance along with Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary.


Unaoil’s former Iraq partner pleads guilty to bribery

Updated 19 July 2019
0

Unaoil’s former Iraq partner pleads guilty to bribery

  • It is the first guilty plea to result from a three-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into suspected bribery and money laundering
  • Unaoil is a Monaco-based oil and gas firm

LONDON: The former partner in Iraq for Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy, has pleaded guilty to five counts of bribery in the first conviction in a three-year criminal investigation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Basil Al Jarah, 70, pleaded guilty on July 15 to conspiring to give corrupt payments in connection with the award of contracts to supply and install single point moorings and oil pipelines in southern Iraq, the SFO said.
Al Jarah’s conviction, which comes six months before three other defendants in the case face a criminal trial in London, was announced after a judge lifted reporting restrictions in a pre-trial hearing on Friday, the SFO said.
Ziad Akle, Unaoil’s former territory manager for Iraq and Stephen Whiteley and Paul Bond, who worked for Dutch-based oil and gas services company SBM (Offshore), have pleaded not guilty.
Akle, 44, has been charged with three offenses of conspiracy to make corrupt payments. Bond, a 67-year-old former senior sales manager with SBM (Offshore), and Whiteley, a 64-year-old former vice president of SBM (Offshore) and one-time Unaoil general territories manager for Iraq, Kazakhstan and Angola, each face two counts.
Sam Healey, a lawyer at JMW Solicitors who is representing Whiteley, said his client “strenuously denied” all alleged offenses.
“Mr Whiteley co-operated fully with the SFO as they opened their enquiries and will rigorously defend the charges,” he said.
Lawyers for Al Jarah and Bond declined to comment. A lawyer for Akle was not immediately available for comment.
A spokeswoman for Unaoil declined to comment, while SBM Offshore has said it is company policy to not comment on past or current employees.