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Senior Goldman Sachs Middle East banker resigns: sources

By Dinesh Nair

DUBAI (Reuters) - Khaled Eldabag, a senior investment banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc who handled some of the Wall Street firm's biggest clients in the Middle East, has resigned, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Eldabag, a Dubai-based managing director at Goldman whose clients included Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala , resigned last week, the sources said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

The sources were not aware of Eldabag's plans but one said he would remain in the region. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Goldman topped the rankings for announced M&A transactions in the Middle East, with deals worth $5.9 billion in 2012, according to Reuters data.

Eldabag, who joined Goldman Sachs in 2007, advised on several high-profile deals, including the recent state-backed merger of property firms Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate , the sources said.

Last year he also advised Mubadala on its $2 billion stake purchase in Brazil's EBX, an investment holding company controlled by billionaire Eike Batista.

Unlike some of its peers in the region which cut staff last year in response to a dearth of deals, Goldman has kept a steady headcount over the last few years.

But in recent months, the bank has lost some of its senior regional staff, including its Qatar Chief Executive Tamim al-Kawari, who joined local bank QInvest and Rayan Fayez, its investment banking head in Saudi Arabia, who joined J.P. Morgan Chase Inc last year.

M&A activity in the region is showing signs of revival after the global financial crisis hit investor sentiment.

(Reporting by Dinesh Nair; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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