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Oct 23, 2019

Goldman Sachs said to oust senior Mideast banker over compliance breach

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. logo is displayed in the reception area of the One Raffles Link building, which houses one of the Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte offices, in Singapore.

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. dismissed a senior banker in the Middle East over compliance violations, according to people with knowledge of the matter, adding to the U.S. bank’s woes in the region.

Martin Weber, who’d been with the bank for about 20 years, ran the financing division in the Middle East and North Africa, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Weber relocated to Dubai last year to take on the role and reported to regional management, as well as executives in London, they said.

The decision to terminate Weber’s contract came after the firm concluded in an internal review that actions tied to due diligence were unacceptable for someone of his seniority, one of the people said.

A spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Weber couldn’t be reached for comment. Goldman didn’t provide a contact for the banker, and he didn’t respond to a message sent to him on LinkedIn.


Goldman Sachs’ Middle East banking operations have already faced other unrelated challenges in recent times. They are dealing with a fallout from the 1MDB corruption scandal, which marked its abrupt downfall in Abu Dhabi, once one of its most lucrative regional markets. Investors have also been probing the firm’s role in a controversial deal involving state-backed carrier Etihad Airways. After missing out on at least $25 billion in deals in the emirate, the bank has been making a push into Saudi Arabia.

Separately, the firm’s regional investment-banking head Hazem Shawki left earlier this year to join rival Credit Suisse Group AG.

It’s not the first time Goldman Sachs has faced guideline breaches in the Middle East. In 2016, three bankers left after the bank determined they violated guidelines when it was advising a potential buyer on an investment in fast-food company Kuwait Food Co., which operates KFC restaurants in the region.

--With assistance from Nicolas Parasie.