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JPMorgan China investment banker Philip Zhai said to leave

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Philip Zhai, one of the senior bankers at JPMorgan Chase & Co who worked on China Everbright Bank Co's 2013 share sale, is leaving the US firm, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[HONG KONG] Philip Zhai, one of the senior bankers at JPMorgan Chase & Co who worked on China Everbright Bank Co's 2013 share sale, is leaving the US firm, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Mr Zhai is leaving to pursue other opportunities, said the people, who requested anonymity because the departure hasn't been announced. His move follows an upheaval in JPMorgan's Asian investment-banking business which has involved the exit of several other senior Hong Kong-based bankers during the past 13 months.

Mr Zhai, a managing director at JPMorgan's China investment- banking team, didn't answer five calls to his mobile phone. Chris Cockerill, a spokesman at the bank, declined to comment.

JPMorgan is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department over whether it violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with its hiring practices in Asia. The US investigation has focused on hiring overseen by executives including Todd Marin, the former Asia-Pacific vice chairman of investment banking who left the bank earlier this year, people familiar with the probe have said.

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Other departures include Fang Fang, the former chief executive officer for investment banking in China, who resigned in March 2014. Mr Fang's exit was announced the same month as Hong Kong's anti-corruption agency searched his office in the city, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

None of the bankers, including Mr Marin and Mr Fang, has been accused of wrongdoing by US authorities.

New York-based JPMorgan dropped out of China Everbright Bank's initial public offering in November 2013. Before JPMorgan pulled out, Mr Zhai had been working on the IPO together with Mr Fang, the people said.

The US bank decided to quit the Everbright Bank deal, which at US$3 billion was the largest IPO in Hong Kong that year, because the US investigation had delayed its internal approval process, people with knowledge of the matter in February last year.

US prosecutors were given e-mails written by Mr Fang in which the banker supported the hiring of China Everbright Group Chairman Tang Shuangning's son, the Wall Street Journal reported in March 2014, citing people it didn't identify. Those e-mails also highlighted the potential for doing business with the state-backed conglomerate, the newspaper said.

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