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Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman discusses Jamal Khashoggi in Q3 earnings call

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to Blackstone's U.S. infrastructure fund
October 21, 2018 12:00PM

From left: Steve Schwarzman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Jamal Khashoggi. (Credit: Getty Images, Npangarkar/WMF, DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett, POMED)

Blackstone’s CEO and chairman Steve Schwarzman spoke about dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an earnings call last week.

The first question from an analyst on the call was about how Saudi Arabia’s role in the disappearance–and now confirmed death–of journalist Jamal Khashoggi may affect Blackstone’s U.S. infrastructure fund, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

In May 2017, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia committed to contributing half of Blackstone’s $40 billion U.S. infrastructure fund.

On the October 18 call, Schwarzman said they were “concerned… But we take a long-term approach both to our relationships and to building businesses. His comments came days after he cancelled his attendance at the country’s Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh this week.

“We think of ourselves as long term responsible stewards of capital,” Schwarzman said on the call. “Yes, in the short term we may get some questions. But the key thing to remember is our investors know that Blackstone is the sole GP of the capital.”

On Saturday, a source close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Wall Street Journal that the prince was “shocked” by the West’s reaction to Khashoggi’s death and that “he feels betrayed by the West. He said he would look elsewhere and he will never forget how people turned against him before evidence was produced.” [Seeking Alpha]–Erin Hudson