Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey has announced that foreign banks which opted to boycott the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh would not be penalized by Saudi authorities and may apply for licenses to operate in the country.
"We, at the central bank, deal in a completely professional manner whether with local or international banks," he told Al Arabiya TV.
The three-day Future Investment Initiative forum, which kicked off in the Saudi capital on Tuesday and is unofficially known as "Davos in the desert," ended up being boycotted by a number of high-ranking foreign government officials and company executives over the disappearance and death of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, who has been working for The Washington Post as a columnist and is known for his criticism of Saudi authorities, went missing in Istanbul on October 2 after he entered the Saudi consulate and never came out. The incident caused an outcry in Turkey as well as in many Western countries.
After denying any knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts for two weeks, Saudi Arabia admitted on Friday that the journalist had died in a fight inside its consulate. Riyadh also said that 18 people had been arrested over their involvement in the incident. Turkey is conducting a separate investigation into the journalist's death.