Hall Of Fame

Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Dispute resolution: compliance and investigations in United Arab Emirates


Akin excels in guiding clients through complex sanctions and compliance restrictions, seeing an influx of mandates arising from the Russian-Ukraine conflict. Leveraging its substantial US footprint, the team handles sensitive internal investigations that centre on fraud, accounting regularities, sanctions and export controls violations, money laundering, and compliance with regulatory bodies including the DCPA and FDA. Mac Fadlallah is one of ‘the strongest advisers on sanctions and export controls in the UAE and the region’, and is an expert on US laws and how they apply outside of the country, focusing on global corporate investigations with international sanctions, export controls and anticorruption issues. Natasha Kohne has a substantial data protection, cybersecurity and privacy practice and frequently handles cross-border investigations. Recently promoted partner Lauren Talerman is particularly well-regarded for her work defending Middle Eastern clients in disputes against US governmental agencies. Counsel Jean-Pierre Denour is noted for his ‘excellent commercial sense’ and advice on economic sanctions and export controls.

Practice head(s):

Mahmoud Fadlallah; Natasha Kohne

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Talerman; Jean-Pierre Denour


‘Very pragmatic, know the market well’

‘Mac Fadlallah is very knowledgeable and dedicated to clients.’

‘Excellent and unrivalled team in the region. Fantastic bench strength allows them to provide advice like no other firm can. Fantastic collaboration across offices and departments. Excellent use of technology.’

‘Mac Fadlallah has unparalleled knowledge and experience in his area, far beyond competitors in the field. He is also dedicated to providing exceptional service to clients. He works with his clients to constantly improve on the way to deliver legal services to them. JP Denour has excellent commercial sense and is also tireless in delivering legal services. They are both trusted advisors to the company.’

‘Excellent team covering compliance, investigations, regulatory etc with US and UK qualified lawyers but located in the right timezone for us. Excellent focus on customer relationship – extremely attentive to our needs and able to anticipate issues in advance and partner with our business people to anticipate and solve our problems.’

‘Unusual to get this coverage of US, UK, UAE and other jurisdictional qualified lawyers physically located in the UAE, right timezone, right mix of individuals, levels of seniority and practice area coverage. also excellent in dispute resolution, ADR, litigation etc.’

‘Cover UAE and entire region, but also good for international coverage for US and UK matters in a location and timezone that is convenient for us’

‘Mac Fadallah is excellent and can advise on sanctions, export controls, compliance, investigations etc. Deep knowledge and focused client service. He is clearly the strongest advisor on sanctions and export controls in the UAE and the region.’

Key clients

Leading Forwarding and Logistics Company

Fortune 500 Food and Beverage Company

Global Telecommunications Operator

Major Middle East Oil Company

UAE-Based Security Company

Satellite Communication Company

Work highlights

  • Secured an extremely rare exemption allowing a global telecoms company to continue to operate by leveraging novel legal arguments, intensive advocacy and strong government relationships to engage with multiple regulatory authorities.
  • Provide legal advice to a world-renowned food and beverage company on matters that relate to corporate compliance with US sanctions.
  • Completed an internal investigation of a transaction involving the misdelivery of an item subject to US export controls to China for a leading forwarding and logistics company.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's deep bench of advisers are well-equipped to handle an array of internal and external investigations, including those related to corruption and bribery, money laundering, and cyber-security. The group has a strong sanctions offering, regularly advising multinational clients on compliance with US, EU, UK and Canadian sanctions. The team is well placed to advise regional companies on political issues, employment and data laws, and regulatory concerns. Practice head Adam Vause is 'able to cut through the most difficult of issues and give direct, client-friendly and commercially focused advice'; he is particularly well-reputed for his criminal investigations and anti-corruption work and acts for an enviable list of top-tier clients. Ramsey Jurdi's has considerable skill advising on international economic sanctions mandates and has noted an uptick in instructions arising out of the sanctions targeting Russia and Iran. Legal director Laura Shingler is particularly sought out by clients in the financial services sector.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Mackenzie; Adam Vause

Other key lawyers:

Laura Shingler


‘I have some truly exceptional experience working with Ramsey Jurdi. He has an excellent commercial understanding of the matters and is able to speak the same language with the business people which is a rare quality for lawyers.’

‘Responsive, knowledgeable and gave a direct and honest appraisal of a very difficult situation. Their ability to provide seamless multi jurisdictional advice across the UAE, Australia and the US was extremely impressive.’

‘Adam Vause is able to cut through the most difficult of issues and give direct, client friendly and commercially focused advice.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a leading global medical services group in connection with the development and protection of a new state-of-the-art medical technology suite.
  • Advised a sports organisations on the design and compliance control of its sophisticated electronic devices for e-marketing and data management systems in the context of upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games and Gangwon 2024 Youth Games.
  • Providing ongoing regulatory advice on gambling, advertising, data protection, consumer protection matters, AML and on the new responsible gambling Royal Decree to a client.

Jones Day

A 'disputes powerhouse', Jones Day fields a 'formidable' investigations team with experienced practitioners proficient in local and US laws and regulations and capable of handling multi-jurisdictional issues. The group has a strong track record advising clients on FCPA and US sanctions and export control issues, regularly defending a variety of global players against allegations brought by US governmental agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice and Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The 'very practical and knowledgeable' Sheila Shadmand, who acts for clients from a range of sectors including retail, technology, and telecoms and has strength handling sanctions compliance and investigatory issues, heads the team. Heather Martin has 'thousands of hours of experience on her feet in court' and is also able to draw in previous in-house counsel experience, which makes her well-positioned to handle regulatory enforcement mandates, with a particular emphasis on white-collar criminal law.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Shadmand

Other key lawyers:

Heather Martin


‘A good team, heavily engaged in the market and experienced.’

‘Sheila Shadmand is a pleasure to work with. Very practical and knowledgeable.’

‘Jones Day is known for being a disputes powerhouse, and its Dubai compliance and investigations team is formidable.’

‘Because they have significant courts expertise, as well as experience both cooperating and being adversarial to the US Department of Justice and other notable enforcement agencies, they apply a singularly strategic mindset to every task and decision. This approach stands in contrast to other firms whose investigations lawyers do not have a strong enforcement or trial background.’

‘Heather Martin has thousands of hours of experience on her feet in court in significant white collar criminal matters, and is the only such private practice lawyer in the region in that regard. Layered upon that is her in-house experience, which enables her to approach regulatory and compliance issues with a view to all of the strategic and commercial implications. She has wide range when interviewing witnesses, and strong leadership skills that enable her to oversee an efficient and effective team. Unique is an overused term, but the combination of skills and experience that Heather offers is truly unique.’

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright's team has a strong knowledge of the local and regional regulatory landscape and advises clients on sensitive and complex investigatory proceedings as well as providing compliance advice. The firm has a wealth of experience representing clients in response to investigations by bodies including the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Financial Service Regulatory Authority and Abu Dhabi Global Market regulator, and are also well positioned to carry out investigations regarding issues including harassment and discrimination allegations. Matthew Shanahan handles contentious and non-contentious mandates, with a strong focus on white-collar crime, anti-money laundering, and other financial crimes, and is praised for his 'timely and sound guidance in a multitude of different subject matters'. Associate Hasanali Pirbhai is also highly active in complex regulatory investigations and enforcement actions. Orlando Vidal  left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Shanahan

Other key lawyers:

Hasanali Pirbhai


‘Extensive experience in regulatory matters in the Dubai International Financial Centre.’

‘Pragmatism in applying the law to the specific circumstances and needs of the client, with a view to achieve the best risk-sensitive outcome.’

‘The team is very experienced and knowledgeable. Pragmatic and constructive in the advice. Easily reachable and ready to engage even at short notice The collaboration is extremely positive and constructive.’

‘Great understanding of the financial services industry and related regulatory environments . The team is always available and provides timely guidance and assistance.’

‘Matthew Shanahan is always providing timely and sound guidance in a multitude of different subject matters . He goes out of his way to assist.’

Work highlights

  • Represented an ex-senior director of a private equity firm in ongoing regulatory investigations in numerous jurisdictions.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East LLP

‘A very experienced team that has been involved in some major high-profile investigations in recent years’, Simmons & Simmons Middle East LLP has seen an uptick in work pertaining to regulatory tech disputes and pharma investigations. The firm is also able to handle multi-faceted cases involving allegations of bribery, corruption and contravention of local regulatory violations. Payam Beheshti 'is technically superb, commercially pragmatic, and personable with both senior leaders and junior members of staff', and is a go-to for a range of clients, particularly those in the financial services sector who are engaged with investigations with financial institutions and Muneer Khan is also well-regarded as an investigation specialist. David McDonald has particular expertise handling contentious issues arising from employment investigations, especially senior employee misconduct, and is praised by clients for his ability to handle 'tricky contentious matters'. Managing associate Adam Wolstenholme is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Payam Beheshti; Muneer Khan

Other key lawyers:

David McDonald; Adam Wolstenholme; Scheherazade Shiraz


‘The team is collegiate, smart and delivers as “one team”. The partners are approachable and the associates first class. You can see that it is a team and office that just gets on and gets the job done. They are open to alternative fee arrangements and truly put clients’ needs first. The team have worked on some of our trickiest matters, both in UAE and in the region. They are trusted advisors in the region.’

‘Payam Beheshti is technically superb, commercially pragmatic, and personable with both senior leaders and junior members of staff.’

‘Scheherazade Shiraz has been a key associate on a couple of matters. Has really sought to understand our business and has supported as co-counsel on investigations where we needed local language expertise. I was particularly impressed with the ease in which Sheri slotted into the team and just got on with the work. A rising star in the region and an associate to keep watch on.’

A&O Shearman

A&O Shearman has an active practice handling money laundering and criminal fraud matters, employment-related issues, and sanctions compliance advice. The firm also has a strong financial services regulatory offering, aiding a range of prominent clients in this space. Jodi Norman and Yacine Francis are the two team heads, and both practitioners are prolific specialists in this area of work with experience in complex investigations and and financial crime mandates. Senior associate David Berman handles high-profile, multi-jurisdictional instructions from a mix of industry players in relation to regulatory investigations, often interacting with regulators and government authorities and senior associate Victoria Ferres is a key contact for financial institutions as they look to design and implement internal policies and procedures.

Practice head(s):

Jodi Norman; Yacine Francis

Other key lawyers:

David Berman; Victoria Ferres


‘David Berman is a hands on senior associate, pragmatic and helpful, reactive to requests and up to speed with all aspects of the case.’

Baker McKenzie LLP

Baker McKenzie LLP has ‘strong local knowledge supported by a global network'. The team frequently handles matters relating to financial crime and money laundering, export controls and custom audits, international trade sanctions, and employment and also has an active compliance and risk assessment offering. The firm has also been engaged to handle matters pertaining to Russian and US sanctions, human rights, and terrorism-based claims. Department lead Borys Dackiw is recognised for his work on anti-bribery policy and investigations as well as anti-corruption. Joanna Matthews-Taylor brings her employment experience to bear in a number of multifaceted client instructions and Samir-Safar Aly predominantly focuses on financial crime, sanctions, and investigations.


Practice head(s):

Borys Dackiw


‘Good visibility within Abu Dhabi.’

‘Strong local knowledge supported by a global network ’

‘Pragmatic, practical and on the ground.’

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP handles complex and sensitive investigations in a range of areas including financial services, health and safety, data and cyber security, employment, and audit and accounting. Rebecca Kelly has extensive experience in regulatory and investigatory work and is notably proficient in fraud investigations and and asset tracing cases. Mark Beswetherick excels in representing clients in regulatory investigations conducted by a range of regional bodies and authorities and has a strong cross-border practice and Rebecca Ford adds expertise in employment-related issues. Olivia Darlington's arrival in 2023 from Simmons & Simmons Middle East LLP bolsters the firm's ability to handle contentious insurance mandates.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Kelly

Key clients

Union Properties P.J.S.C

U P P Capital Investment Co. L.L.C

Work highlights

  • Represented Union Properties and UPP throughout the ADGM Court proceedings and advised them in relation to the settlement agreement of AED 620m.


Dentons' team has a 'thorough understanding of the issues including commercial realities'. The group ramped up its offering with the arrival of Christopher Brennan from the firm's London office; his expertise ensures that the team is sought out by corporates for investigations in a variety of sectors, especially financial services. Other key areas of expertise include bribery and corruption issues, money laundering and asset tracing, and compliance with international sanctions advice. Shiraz Sethi handles a range of contentious and non-contentious employment-related mandates, specialising in workplace investigations and senior associate David Slim has been notably active in internal investigations, crisis management issues involving regulatory bodies, and compliance audits to mitigate sanctions and offences. Andrew Cheung left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Brennan; Shiraz Sethi

Other key lawyers:

David Slim


‘Recently ramped up team with arrival of Chris Brennan. Winning instructions for UAE financial services investigations due to long UK experience and capability.’

‘Chris Brennan is extremely experienced, tenacious, and good at fighting your corner with the regulator where required. ’

‘They have an unparalleled amount of expertise and experience.’

‘Chris Brennan is the expert in his field and always makes himself available at short notice.’

‘The team is first class with a thorough understanding of the issues including commercial realities. ’

‘Chris Brennan has a wealth of experience both in industry and dealings with regulators and alike.’

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP's 'experienced and knowledgeable' team is well equipped to handle complex sanctions and compliance queries, regulatory advice and investigations, and workplace disputes. The firm has recently been engaged in significant accounting fraud cases that required cross-border collaboration and close engagement with the ADGM. The team is led by Rebecca Copley, who is a go-to for the the firm's extensive list of financial services providers and institutions, and is active in compliance regulation and defending investigations. Lisa Bryson is noted for her stellar employment practice, handling both employee-specific disputes and company-wide non-compliance issues and senior associate Shibani Kapur has been kept busy handling investigations concerning fraud and malpractice.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Copley

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Bryson; Shibani Kapur


‘Rebecca Copley goes above and beyond for clients, providing an excellent service.’

‘The team experienced and knowledgeable and can put together a very good value and efficient offering for clients.’

‘Rebecca Copley is excellent, very experienced in the region and full of insight. A pleasure to work alongside, she thinks creatively and fights hard for clients. Shibani is an excellent up and coming associate with a bright future. ’

Key clients

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

Work highlights

  • Representing Dubai Islamic in various proceedings arising out the NMCH Administration.

Hadef & Partners LLC

Hadef & Partners LLC has a wide-ranging international practice that deals with cases involving foreign governmental bodies, regional and international investment companies, and leading industry players Abdulrahman Juma is noted for his close connections with a variety of government entities and Walid Azzam stands out for his asset tracing and recovery work. Karim Mahmoud handles a steady stream of high-profile mandates that include money laundering, investigations work, and criminal allegations and Taher Abdeen Ibrahim advises on anti-money laundering, fraud, cybercrime, bribery and corruption cases. Associate Mohammed Abbas provides additional support.

Practice head(s):

Abdulrahman Juma; Walid Azzam

Other key lawyers:

Karim Mahmoud; Taher Abdeen Ibrahim; Mohammed Abbas

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is frequently sought out by multinational corporates, regional and state-backed entities, and regulatory bodies for investigations and compliance advice and is particularly strong in financial crime matters. Team head Stuart Paterson covers the entire waterfront of investigatory mandates and is noted for his extensive cross-border practice, handling claims in Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia as well as Asia and North Africa. Benjamin Hopps leverages his experience acting as head of employment for the firm to act on employee misconduct matters and also supports Paterson on the team’s most complex financial crime, asset tracing and money laundering claims. Janine Mallis is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Paterson

Other key lawyers:

Benjamin Hopps; Janine Mallis

Key clients

Al Ghurair Investment

Ernst & Young

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs is frequently sought out by multinationals, financial services institutions, and military defence subcontractors for high-profile and complex sanctions advice, regulatory issues, and investigations support. Richard Gibbon is well positioned to act on white-collar regulatory enforcement, internal investigations and financial crime compliance. Malak Abbas is a strong supporting presence across a range of key mandates. The team has also bolstered its capabilities through a number of junior hires, including senior associate Katy Fisher who joined in September 2023 and who brings a wealth of experience in complex cross-border investigations and government enforcement actions from her time at Kobre & Kim.

Practice head(s):

Richard Gibbon

Other key lawyers:

Katy Fisher; Malak Abbas


‘Focused on servicing clients with very challenging issues that span multiple jurisdictions.’

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company handles an impressive body of domestic and international work, with notable case highlights including audits and asset investigations, risk and compliance reviews, and corruption and fraud investigations. The team is jointly led by Khalid Al Hamrani, who is recognised for advising on fraud, bribery and money laundering issues, and Ibtissem Lassoued, who has deep knowledge of inter-governmental organisations which helps her advise clients on issues including corruption, as well as being adept at assisting with sanctions and international compliance.

Practice head(s):

Khalid Al Hamrani; Ibtissem Lassoued


‘Having worked with the team for many years I can confirm they are the most connected investigations practice. They have an incredible range of clients and deal with the most sensitive matters. They are most knowledgeable about how to navigate the UAE legal processes and system.’

‘Ibtissem Lassoued is a dynamo that is hugely active in the compliance and investigations space; Khalid Hamrani is very level-headed.’

‘The team is very supportive and understood quickly what was needed. Built and delivered bespoke trainings to the company. Organized and very professional. Extended support and collaborated with the internal company team very well. Prompt updates on the progress of the matter.’

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP ‘covers a lot of the important bases in the investigations bracket’. The team represents corporates and individuals in financial crime, anti-money laundering, bribery and corruption cases, and is also noted for global asset recovery and corruption work. Sara Sheffield specialises in fraud and asset tracing and recovery mandates, often working alongside fellow team head Ghassan El Daye, who is highly respected for fraud investigations, on key matters. Karl Masi is widely praised for his ‘understanding of the complex legal and factual issues in cases‘ and his ‘technical skills’.

Practice head(s):

Sara Sheffield; Ghassan El Daye

Other key lawyers:

Karl Masi


‘The CRS team cover a lot of the important bases in the investigations bracket. I understand that Sara Sheffield and Karl Masi have good experience in contentious enforcement and investigations work from the UK and Australia.’

‘Proactive, knowledgeable, and willing to collaborate.’

‘I predominately liaised with Karl Masi on the CRS side, who demonstrated to me a real understanding of the complex legal and factual issues in the case. There is a difference between representing a corporate and representing an individual in an investigation, and Karl’s experience in representing the latter was particularly clear on several occasions.’

Work highlights

  • Represented an individual in enforcement proceedings brought by the Dubai Financial Services Authority for failings in respect of the audit of the Abraaj Group entity, Abraaj Capital Limited (ACLD).
  • Acted for a British national charged and prosecuted by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to ongoing bribery and corruption charges related to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising a global group entity on its UAE subsidiary’s compliance with bribery and corruption laws in the UAE.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance‘s team is sought out by international banks for complex, high-stakes investigatory work that involves allegations of fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption. The group also advises a range of asset managers and sovereign investment companies on regulatory concerns and compliance, frequently with a cross-border nexus. Paul Coates is a construction dispute specialist and Jack Hardman leverages strong corporate and regulatory knowledge to act for large corporations and financial institutions in a range of matters. Senior associate Prachi Trivedi supports on many of the firm's matters. James Abbott left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Paul Coates

Other key lawyers:

Jack Hardman; Prachi Trivedi