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Mon 16 May 2011 06:26 PM

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US bank Citigroup sets up new Iraq operations

Bank hires former US diplomat to run its Iraq desk as lender tries to capitalise on war-torn economy

US bank Citigroup sets up new Iraq operations

Citigroup said on Monday it has hired former US diplomat Dennis Flannery to run its Iraq operations as the lender tries to capitalise on the OPEC oil producer's efforts to rebuild its war-torn economy.

The third-largest US bank, which needed $45 billion in US government bailouts to survive the financial crisis, said in a statement on Monday Flannery was most recently financial attache at the US Embassy in Baghdad.

He had previously worked at World Bank and Bank of America Corp , Citi said.

"Iraq's economic fundamentals are extremely healthy and we see a major role for Citi to play in helping shape the country's capital markets, while supporting the finance needs of our clients," Flannery said in the statement.

Iraq's economy, struggling to pull out of years of sectarian carnage that followed the 2003 US-led invasion, is dominated by oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent of revenue.

Citi aims to focus on Iraqi financial institutions and public sector entities, as well as international corporates and institutions active in the country, it said.

Citi has been in the Arab World for nearly 50 years and views the region as critical to its global franchise.

It currently offers full scale corporate banking services across 10 Arab countries including Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait as well as Pakistan.

Its consumer banking services cover UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Pakistan, while it maintains close relationships with high networth clients in the region through the Citi Private Bank.

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