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Saudi smart city project names tech board members amid Khashoggi controversy

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Joseph Cormier
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A $500 billion Saudi smart city project on Tuesday named multiple US tech leaders to its advisory board even as the country faces controversy over the alleged death of a Saudi journalist.

The project, called NEOM, plans to build a futuristic cross-border city based on smart technology.

Members of its advisory board, according to a post on NEOM's verified Twitter account, included top executives from the tech industry in the US, including Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen, co-chair of OpenAI Sam Altman, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, CEO of Alphabet's subsidiary Sidewalk Labs Dan Doctoroff, former Dow Chemical Company CEO Andrew Liveris and more.

Saudi news outlet Argaam on Tuesday initially published a 19-member list of the NEOM advisory board that included Apple Design Chief Jony Ive's name, according to Business Insider.

But Apple late Tuesday said Ive's inclusion on the list was a mistake, and he has nothing to do with the project.

The announcement came days after Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident and critic of the Saudi government, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, according to the New York Times.

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Joseph Cormier
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