Dispute resolution: compliance and investigations in United Arab Emirates

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Mac Fadlallah in Dubai and Natasha Kohne in Abu Dhabi are the key names in an Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP team that advises on sanctions, export controls and anti-corruption measures, and internal investigations relating to those issues, with a strong focus on matters involving US law and regulations. Johann Strauss is a key senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Mac Fadlallah; Natasha Kohne

Other key lawyers:

Johann Strauss

Key clients

Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC (and its subsidiary, Guinea Alumina Corporation)

Work highlights

  • Advising Emirates Global Aluminium on trade compliance matters, including assistance in the context of lending and project finance deals led by the company.

Clyde & Co LLP

Matthew Shanahan heads the Clyde & Co LLP team in this space. Formerly in-house at the body now known as the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, his recent cases have involved DFSA, ADGM FSRA and internal investigations covering issues including insider trading, money laundering and other matters. The firm has close relations with the "big four" auditors and frequently advises them on their interactions with foreign regulators.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Shanahan

Key clients

Equitativa (Dubai) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Equitativa (Dubai) Limited in relation to a Dubai Financial Services Authority investigation into certain valuation and corporate governance matters.

DLA Piper

Adam Vause, co-chair of DLA Piper's global investigations group, contributes previous experience gained at the SFO to a practice with expertise in anti-corruption and regulatory matters concerning both English, US and Middle Eastern legal systems. Washington DC-qualified Ramsey Jurdi contributes US sanctions and export control expertise, including matters concerning Iran and Russia. Laura Shingler, who joined from Eversheds Sutherland LLP, is a key legal director with additional sanctions expertise.

Practice head(s):

Adam Vause

Other key lawyers:

Laura Shingler; Ramsey Jurdi

Key clients

Essilor International SAS

Work highlights

  • Assisting Essilor with an internal investigation and related criminal and civil proceedings in the UAE regarding a fraud at the client’s Thai factory.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Former Assistant US Attorney Orlando Vidal is the key contact at Norton Rose Fulbright's practice, covering internal investigations across the greater Middle East and North Africa region, frequently covering issues of corruption, bribery and fraud. Crossing over with her broader disputes practice, Deirdre Walker also accepts instructions in this space, with some matters concerning sexual misconduct.

Practice head(s):

Orlando Vidal

Other key lawyers:

Deidre Walker

Testimonials

‘The team was very thorough and diligent. They explored all work options in a thoughtful manner. I was very comfortable with the work product.’

‘The partners were very good. They were incredibly responsive. They were very thorough. They were more engaged and hands-on than most partners. They knew the issues and findings very well.’

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

English-qualified Payam Beheshti is at the core of Simmons & Simmons Middle East's practice, handling internal investigations, both inside and outside the financial services space and often concerning the largest corporate scandals in the region. Muneer Khan also has expertise in this space crossing over with his financial services regulatory practice. Managing associate Adam Wolstenholme, who joined from Al Tamimi & Company, contributes experience honed at the London criminal Bar and David McDonald is also notable at that level.

Practice head(s):

Payam Beheshti

Other key lawyers:

Muneer Khan; Adam Wolstenholme; David McDonald

Al Tamimi & Company

At Al Tamimi & Company, locally-qualified Khalid Al Hamrani handles a range of disputes before the UAE courts in the financial crime space, and French-qualified Ibtissem Lassoued contributes expertise in both UK and US anti-corruption law and a broader perspective on anti-money laundering matters. Osama Daneshyar, who qualified as a barrister in England, is a notable senior counsel.

Practice head(s):

Khalid Al Hamrani; Ibtissem Lassoued

Other key lawyers:

Osama Daneshyar

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

At Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, Borys Dackiw, alongside his M&A practice, handles a range of international investigations work, covering allegations of FCPA violations as well as alleged sanctions issues. Mohamed El Khatib is a key contact when local litigation is involved, and associate Samir-Safar Aly  joined from Simmons & Simmons Middle East .

Practice head(s):

Borys Dackiw

Other key lawyers:

Mohamed El Khatib; Samir-Safar Aly

Testimonials

‘They understood the legal issues and were always available.’

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Rebecca Copley heads Eversheds Sutherland LLP's practice in this space in the Middle East, which handles a range of disputes often running in parallel with criminal proceedings before the Arabic-language courts of the region, often involving alleged fraud, as well as highly sensitive internal investigations into allegations of corruption, breaches of sanctions and similar.  Document-heavy cases where AI tools are used are a particular area of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Copley

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Solicitor-advocate Stuart Paterson is the key contact for this line of advice at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. As part of a broader disputes practice that includes commercial litigation, he handles internal investigations into matters such as fraud and employee embezzlement, as well as advice on UK offences under FSMA as well as on matters involving relations with the DFSA. Many matters cross over with employment law, or the firm's Saudi practice.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Paterson

Jones Day

Sheila Shadmand, partner-in-charge of Jones Day's broader Middle East presence, has a track record of advising on US sanctions as well as SEC and other investigations.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Shadmand

Testimonials

‘For white collar and investigatory matters, Jones Day is a firm that I would, and do, continue to contact. In my opinion, there are few firms with their pedigree on these matters.’

‘Sheila Shadmand very clearly understands white collar crime and internal investigations. More importantly, it would be easy for an attorney to treat my client like any other client, but Sheila works hard to understand the issues that are important to my client.’

‘Sheila Shadmand is a star!’

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP's Rebecca Kelly advises well-known corporates on varied internal investigations concerning alleged fraud, corruption, employee theft and other misbehaviour.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Kelly

Squire Patton Boggs

Rich Gibbon and senior associate Sassi Riar are the key names in Squire Patton Boggs' team that has a strong focus on advising banks from the Middle East and South Asia on their relations with OFAC's regime of US sanctions.

Practice head(s):

Richard Gibbon

Other key lawyers:

Sassi Riar

Ibrahim & Partners

Ibrahim & Partners is particularly active in investigations into alleged issues in the firm’s home jurisdiction of Egypt.