Dispute resolution: compliance and investigations in United Arab Emirates

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

US sanctions are the core strength of the team at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, covering compliance advice and whistleblower-triggered investigations ranging from the post-JCPOA climate on Iran through to the more recent blackballing of certain Chinese telecoms companies. Mac Fadlallah, who also has FCPA expertise, is a key name in the practice in Dubai, which acts for some of corporate America's biggest names as well as European companies in sensitive sectors, and Natasha Kohne in Abu Dhabi. Associate Johann Strauss has sanctions expertise in this space.

Practice head(s):

Mac Fadlallah


‘Practical and straightforward advice.’

‘The team has in-depth knowledge of the relevant subject matters, including OFAC sanctions and how they impact US and non-US companies. In addition to knowing the law, they also know the practice around it and know how other market players are dealing with the matters. Such knowledge is invaluable.’

‘Mac Fadlallah is focussed, precise, prompt and, above all, very helpful.’

‘Mac Fadlallah has a deep and broad knowledge about US sanctions and how they affect both US and non-US companies.’

Key clients

Emirates Global Aluminium

Al Yah Satellite Communications

Work highlights

  • Advised Emirates Global Aluminium and its subsidiary Guinea Alumina Corporation on compliance issues required to finance a new bauxite mine in Guinea’s Boke province.

DLA Piper Middle East LLP

DLA Piper Middle East LLP has expertise in dealing with corruption investigations from authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. Adam Vause , co-head of the firm's global investigations group, brings experience from an in-house role at the UK Serious Fraud Office advising on both Bribery Act and US FCPA issues. In addition, US-qualified Ramsey Jurdi has experience on OFAC sanctions matters, including Russia-related issues, as well as handling corruption internal investigations. Clients include local and international banks and pharmaceuticals companies, as well as in some cases senior executives of large businesses. Laura Shingler is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Adam Vause

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Rebecca Copley at Eversheds Sutherland LLP handles work including internal investigations into corruption allegations, export control and sanctions issues, as well as work concerning national and international government investigations. Many instructions involve neighbouring jurisdictions and the team in the UAE frequently leverages the firm's other offices in the region. The practice acts for leading British-headquartered banks, among others.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Copley


‘The team has strength in sanctions across a broad range of areas but what makes them particularly strong is that they become a trusted adviser. They took the issue seriously handled it with the urgency, care and attention that clients would want’.

‘At Eversheds, clients have access to multi-jurisdictional lawyers with backgrounds in different cultures.’

Norton Rose Fulbright

At Norton Rose Fulbright, former Assistant US Attorney Orlando Vidal and English-qualified senior associate Hannah Bradshaw  handle internal investigations into corruption, fraud and sexual harassment. The firm has clients in the engineering, banking and health sectors.

Practice head(s):

Orlando Vidal

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

At Simmons & Simmons Middle East, Payam Beheshti and Muneer Khan advise well-known clients on some of the most challenging cross-border internal investigations stemming from the region into fraud and forgery, sexual misconduct and data abuse. Many instructions involve some crossover with financial services regulation.

Practice head(s):

Payam Beheshti; Muneer Khan 

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

Working with its offices abroad, Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla assists a range of local and foreign clients with US trade sanctions advice, internal investigations into fraud, as well as representing high-profile individuals in white-collar cases. Borys Dackiw heads the firm's broader compliance operation across the GCC region. Mohamed El Khatib is a key name in the litigation practice.

Practice head(s):

Boris Dackiw


‘Up to date with global compliance changes.’

Clyde & Co LLP

At Clyde & Co LLP, Mark Beswetherick and Susie Abdel-Nabi have significant internal investigations expertise, with many matters involving the construction industry. Shipping and disputes partner Patrick Murphy handles some sanctions work, much of it focussing on Iranian issues. A new hire from Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, Matthew Shanahan's practice crosses over with financial services regulation.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Shanahan


‘Very knowledgeable, responsive and commercial.’

Jones Day

At Jones Day, Sheila Shadmand has expertise in dealing with US FCPA matters, covering both matters in the Middle East region and in Africa. Sean Boyce's work has included advising on American sanctions and export control matters, including some concerning Russia and Iran.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Shadmand

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Australian-qualified Rebecca Kelly works with the firm's UK and US teams for clients in sectors such as construction and energy on investigations by bodies such as the Serious Fraud Office, Department of Justice, and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Kelly

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs' Rich Gibbon advises a range of banks from the region and South Asia on American OFAC sanctions and anti-money laundering laws, often working with the firm's team in Washington.

Practice head(s):

Rich Gibbon


‘The firm has deep experience in advising clients on sanctions matters across emerging markets.’

‘Rich Gibbon rolls his sleeves up and gets into the detail when addressing client issues. Extremely diligent.’