Dispute resolution: compliance and investigations in United Arab Emirates

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has a broad internal investigations practice that covers securities fraud, accounting irregularities, price-fixing, sanctions and export controls violations. Managing partner Mac Fadlallah heads the practice and is praised by clients for being ‘extremely knowledgeable‘ and ‘technically strong‘. Natasha Kohne is the co-managing partner of the Abu Dhabi office and has an extensive international cybersecurity and data breach investigations practice. Counsel Johann Strauss is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Mac Fadlallah; Natasha Kohne

Other key lawyers:

Johann Strauss


‘Mac Fadlallah is extremely knowledgeable, approachable and most of all pragmatic. He is real pleasure to work with.’

‘The team are genuine experts and are viewed as the “go to” team in the region for export controls and international sanctions work.’

‘Both partners and associates have excellent reputations and are creating impressive track records in these increasingly key sectors.’

‘They are well supported by their international offices and, unlike some other firms in the region, are able to leverage a strong integrated international team.’

‘Mac Fadlallah is excellent. Not only technically strong, but also very commercial, he puts his clients’ needs at the forefront of everything he does and is never not available.’

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a Fortune 500 company in a highly complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation spanning three continents.
  • Acting as primary export controls and sanctions counsel for a leading global freight forwarding and logistics company.
  • Advised Careem on developing and enhancing its internal compliance framework.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's regulatory and investigations team has a broad offering that covers financial services regulatory compliance and enforcement, employee and external fraud, anti-bribery and corruption compliance. Mark Beswetherick is another key individual to note and has a strong commercial litigation background, as well as experience advising on internal investigations, bribery and corruption and employee fraud. Matthew Shanahan left the firm in 2022.

Other key lawyers:

Mark Beswetherick

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s dedicated corporate investigations and compliance practice is co-led by Adam Vause who advises financial institutions and major corporates on a range of issues including fraud, asset tracing and compliance. Ramsey Jurdi is the go-to contact for economic sanctions and related investigations involving Russia and Iran. Legal director Laura Shingler is also noted and specialises in anti-bribery, corruption and corporate crime.

Practice head(s):

Henry Quinlan; Adam Vause

Other key lawyers:

Ramsey Jurdi; Laura Shingler


‘Ramsey Jurdi is an exceptional specialist in sanctions and U.S. export control matters who may clear up any compliance or sanction-risk matter.’

‘DLA Piper provides swift, practically oriented and comprehensible advise.’

‘Understanding of key solutions for automatization in this sphere.’

‘Members of the team have detailed and practically oriented expertise in the sphere of compliance.’

Norton Rose Fulbright

FCPA and UK Bribery Act, fraud prevention, and remediation are key areas of focus for the regulations, compliance and investigations practice at Norton Rose Fulbright. The practice is led by Orlando Vidal, who is a former US federal prosecutor. Deirdre Walker is another key individual and has substantial experience advising on Dubai Financial Services Authority regulatory investigations. Senior associate Hannah Bradshaw is also noted. Matthew Shanahan was a new arrival in early 2022.

Practice head(s):

Orlando Vidal

Other key lawyers:

Deidre Walker; Paul Stothard; Hannah Bradshaw; Lolan Sagoe-Moses; Matthew Shanahan


‘The team provides a highly professional and well coordinated service.’

‘Meticulous in their attention to detail, the members are legally astute, approachable and friendly.’

‘Paul Stothard, assisted by Hannah Bradshaw and Lolan Sagoe-Moses share many of the same characteristics. All three are super bright, rigorous, tactically dextrous, approachable and a pleasure to deal with. They are particularly skilled at dealing with difficult and demanding clients.’

‘Exceptional level of dedication by the team leaving no stone unturned to give the best possible advice on our case and to fight every inch. ‘

‘They were willing to challenge the regulator and point out where they were being unreasonable while also choosing our battles carefully, and anticipating rebuttals in order to ensure we could knock down any challenges.’

‘NRF also took a commercially friendly approach to billing.’

‘Hannah Bradshaw showed a high level of dedication and commitment to our case. She was available at all times and made us feel like she was personally committed to helping us reach the best outcome.’

Paul Stothard oversaw our case and ensured that our case was handled with the highest level of attention and care, whilst being extremely reasonable with billing and understanding of the financial challenges that such cases place on the business.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

Simmons & Simmons Middle East's investigations practice primarily acts for financial institutions in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings. Practice head Payam Beheshti is a contentious regulatory and disputes specialist and assists clients with issues concerning employment, data protection, cyber crime, money laundering and sanctions. Financial regulatory expert Muneer Khan and managing associates David McDonald and Adam Wolstenholme are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Payam Beheshti; Muneer Khan

Other key lawyers:

David McDonaldAdam Wolstenholme


‘Advice is always in line with our expectations, concise, clear and practical.’

‘Turnaround times and responsiveness is first class.’

‘Payam Beheshti helps us navigate difficult situations and provides robust legal advice.’


Dentons has a ‘fantastic‘ corporate investigations practice with particular expertise in UK and European sanctions, bribery and money laundering and related regulatory programmes. Andrew Cheung heads the practice and advises his global client base on preventative measures and compliance violation crisis management. Shiraz Sethi brings an employment angle and handles whistleblowing, fraud, forgery and breaches of the UAE Penal Code.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cheung

Other key lawyers:

Shiraz Sethi


Excellent strategic advice and knowledge of the local market.’

The team got a firm handle on the matter very quickly and broke it down in relevant phases.’

Broad international legal knowledge and understanding of the industry.’

‘It was impressive how they were able to handle a complex case in another jurisdiction despite a pandemic close down.’

The team is fantastic.’

‘They are very creative with their guidance and incredibly reliable.’

Key clients

Statkraft AS

Frasers Hospitality UK Limited

Kyowa Kirin


Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP's Rebecca Copley heads the firm's corporate and investigations practice in the Middle East and has extensive experience advising on cross-border investigations. Key areas of focus for the practice are handling allegations of fraud and corruption. Senior associate Shibani Kapur has a strong background in regulatory enforcement, corporate crime and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Copley

Other key lawyers:

Shibani Kapur


‘The Eversheds fraud team has a strong presence in the Middle East.’

‘They approach investigations with tenacity and quickly give clients the confidence that investigations will be conducted both thoroughly and fairly.’

Key clients

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International has a full-service regulatory and corporate investigations offering with expertise in advising clients on breaches of financial regulations, export control laws and trade sanctions. Borys Dackiw heads the practice and advises clients active in a broad range of industries, on compliance and anti-bribery in particular. Mohamed El Khatib focuses on the disputes side of the practice and Joanna Matthews-Taylor specialises in employment-related mandates.

Practice head(s):

Borys Dackiw

Other key lawyers:

Mohamed El Khatib; Joanna Matthews-Taylor

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP advises financial institutions and major corporates on regulatory and internal investigations. Whistleblowing cases are a particular area of focus for the practice. Middle East managing partner Stuart Paterson heads the practice and has expertise in advising clients on investigations involving fraud and employee embezzlement.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Paterson

Jones Day

Jones Day's Dubai office acts for clients in a broad range of regulatory proceedings, from corruption and money laundering, to sanctions and export controls. The team also has particular expertise in addressing the extraterritorial application of US law in relation to corporate and internal investigations. Sheila Shadmand co-heads the firm's international investigations practice and has substantial experience defending companies in enforcement proceedings brought by US government agencies.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Shadmand

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Key areas of focus for the corporate investigations team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP are financial services regulation, the UK Bribery Act, the US FCPA, competition law, and internal corporate investigations. Managing partner Rebecca Kelly heads the practice and is praised by clients for her 'strategic advice' and 'pragmatic' approach to investigations.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Kelly


‘Rebecca Kelly – very practical and pragmatic in her approach / advice and always available to us as a client, even at short notice.

‘The team have significant local experience in the investigations space – many lawyers and law firms hold themselves out as having the requisite international level of experience in this space, but the Morgan Lewis team do have these skills and are able, in my view, to successfully combine them with their knowledge of local laws and regulations better than any other law firm operating in this space currently in the market.’

‘Morgan Lewis is an amazing firm with practical advice for in house GCs. They are pragmatic and solution oriented. They are available and have exceptional turn around time.’

‘Rebecca Kelly is exceptionally collaborative, always available even in the most difficult of times.

‘Rebecca Kelly is a very intelligent lawyer with excellent strategic advice and approach to resolutions.’

‘Rebecca Kelly has exceptional technical knowledge and I rely on her expertise in any sensitive matters. Rebecca is also an excellent communicator and maintains a thoughtful close relationship with her clients.’

‘Not only is Rebecca Kelly an exceptional lawyer, she takes the time to invest in small gestures that gives us a sense of the care we are in. She is a super star!’

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs defends a range of clients before domestic and international regulators, including local public prosecutors and the US Department of State and the Department of Defense. Rich Gibbon heads the practice and focuses on white-collar regulatory enforcement and criminal defence, internal investigations and financial crimes compliance.

Practice head(s):

Rich Gibbon