Monday's Headlines: Citi readies expansion in Iraq

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Citigroup, which earns about $1 billion from the Middle East, has hired former U.S. diplomat Dennis Flannery to expand its Iraq division over the next three to five years, Bloomberg reports. The Amman based unit will grow its trade finance and syndicated lending services to some of the Iraq 's 44 public and private banks, as well as advise on government finance projects in the oil, gas, power and housing industries in Iraq . The country holds the world's fourth-largest oil reserves.

Iraq has awarded 15 contracts for oil and gas exploration licenses since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 which are expected to boost oil production in Basra by 900,000 barrels per day by September 2011 and an addition 1.8 million barrels a day by 2012.

Also in the Middle East, HSBC bought a 75 percent stake in Baghdad-based Dar Elsalam Investment Bank in 2005, and Standard Chartered and National Bank of Kuwait secured licenses to operate in Iraq in 2004, becoming the first group of overseas banks to enter the country since nationalization in 1964, according to the Bloomberg article.

Other news:

SBC plans to hire more than 1,000 people in Singapore over the next five years to help it double its profit there.[NY Times]

A growing number of industry players suggest that Goldman's CEO might have to step down. [NY Post]

Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange withdrew their bid for NYSE Euronext, after antitrust regulators said they would not approve the deal. [DealBook]

Maple Group Acquisition, formed by a consortium of four Canadian banks and five pension funds, offered $3.7 billion for the Toronto Stock Exchange, exceeding the London Stock Exchange's bid by about 20 percent. [NY Times]

Former Fidelity trader Thomas Bruderman, famous for his starring role at a Miami bachelor party in 2003 that featured a dwarf, has co-founded a hedge fund. [Reuters]

Hedge fund managers are talking about what will happen to their firms after they are gone.

[NY Times]

The troubled commercial real estate market is slowly killing off the nation's small and regional banks, and industry experts fear the worst is yet to come. [Fortune]

Big investment banks that offer their hedge-fund clients special access to executives are drawing fresh scrutiny. [WSJ]

Many financial services firms forbid the use of social media by their affiliated advisors. {Investment News]

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