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Irish banks seek Middle Eastern buyers

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As the Irish government looks for investors for its financial system, Middle Eastern wealth funds are being considered as potential buyers of the country’s indebted banks, according to The Telegraph.

John Bruton, Ireland’s former prime minister, traveled to the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, and has met with sovereign wealth funds to search for outside investors. Bruton told press that he was there to discuss general investment opportunities and was not officially representing Ireland.

"We are not here to facilitate the sale of any assets or start any negotiations. That is the government's decision and role, but obviously discussions have taken place about the Irish economy generally. The central bank has clearly said asset sales are being studied," said Bruton.

Irish officials are believed to have contacted several large financial institutions looking for "strategic partners" for their indebted banks.

Said a Gulf-based executive to The National, an Abu Dhabi-based newspaper: "The message was 'our banks are for sale to any investors, foreign or local.’"

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