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Giuliani Selling I-Bank to Sheikh of Dubai?

SHEIKH ON IT? Giuliani, bin Rashid al Maktoum (inset)

Gearing up for a presidential run, Rudy Giuliani may be about to get some help from a controversial source: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai. According to a well-placed source, representatives of Giuliani Partners, the former New York mayor’s consulting firm, recently traveled to Dubai to meet with the sheikh and negotiate the sale of Giuliani Capital Advisors.

Giuliani’s decision to unload the investment banking unit, which he acquired from Ernst & Young in 2004, is reportedly connected to his plans to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2008. A second source with close ties to Giuliani’s camp says the price tag for GCA is set at $36 million, nearly four times what Giuliani Partners paid for it.

Since leaving office in 2001, Giuliani has cultivated relationships in the oil-rich Persian Gulf state. In 2004, he was a featured speaker at a leadership conference there. More recently, he sent Joseph Volpe, who joined Giuliani Partners after ending his tenure as managing director of the Metropolitan Opera, to consult on plans to build an opera house in Dubai, to be designed by architect Zaha Hadid.

A spokeswoman for Giuliani Partners denies the story, insisting there have been “no discussions with anybody in Dubai.”