Masoud Zabeti, Partner, Dispute Resolution

Masoud Zabeti


Personal Profile

Masoud is Head of the Finance & Banking Disputes Group. He focuses on complex litigation and arbitration, as well as regulatory matters. Much of his work is multi-jurisdictional with a particular focus on Russia, the Middle East and the main offshore financial centres.

Legal 500 has praised Masoud for being a "master tactician", "determined", "bright, focused, experienced and a committed street-fighter" and for generating “superb client feedback”.  Legal 500 has also recognised Masoud as a Leading Individual in Banking Litigation: Investment and Retail.

In the field of investment banking he is a "go to" authority for and against financial institutions on disputes arising from complex investment products and funds, and also advises in trade finance disputes. Masoud represents financial sponsors and creditors and debt and equity investors on a range of disputes and restructurings involving significant corporate and property acquisition finance. In the field of retail banking, his practice has centred on developing strategies for clients to deal with mass consumer mobilisation and he is also an expert on payment systems.

Masoud has extensive experience in using effective civil powers granted by the Courts across many jurisdictions to trace and freeze assets and secure evidence. Masoud has also advised clients on major investigations, including some of the most substantial data compromise matters. He recently addressed the 'Russia Talk Investment Forum' organised by the Russo-British Chambers of Commerce in London and Moscow to celebrate the RBCC's centenary.

Key Experience

  • Successfully defended VTB CAPITAL PLC & Ors in claims that the purchase of shares of a Bulgarian telecommunications provider at €330m were rigged.
  • Successfully represented DUET ASSET MANAGEMENT in defending a €60m claim brought by Habas Tulip before the District Court of Amsterdam arising from an agreement to acquire shares in NSI, a Dutch publicly listed company. The Court accepted Habas had withheld from Duet the fact that NSI was arranging a deeply discounted €300m private placement that would immediately dilute the shares in NSI. 
  • Representing a Luxembourg based client in a conspiracy claim arising from enforcement of a facility agreement and the sale of shares in a Lux entity that owned Bulgaria's largest telecommunications company.   
  • Successfully represented AMERICAN EXPRESS in a merchant acquisition agreements arbitration conducted under the rules of the LCIA.
  • Representing TRADITION, the interdealer broking arm of Compagnie Financiere Tradition and one of the world's largest interdealer brokers.
  • Advised the private equity firm, TERRA FIRMA, in respect of its US$ multi-billion misrepresentation claim against Citigroup arising out of the takeover of EMI.
  • Representing a Russian businessman in the oil sector in securing from the BVI Court worldwide freezing injunctions and an unprecedented order preventing the shareholders of a BVI company removing the directors. Also represented the client in a related arbitration conducted under the rules of the LCIA and connected proceedings in Switzerland.
  • Successfully represented AL MIRQAB CAPITAL in dismissing threatened proceedings arising from a corporate acquisition.
  • Advising EVROFINANCE MOSNARBANK in a dispute with an oil producer in Venezuela.
  • Advising a Spanish client in respect of a dispute involving a joint venture that owns an oil field in Russia's Perm region.      
  • Successfully resolved for a Dubai based shipping company a US$50m finance dispute with Commerzbank.
  • Advising Russian bank, PROMSVYAZBANK, in relation to the bankruptcy of Vladimir Kekhman.
  • Advising a client in respect of the liquidation of a Cayman Islands based shipping fund.  
  • Successfully represented INVESTEC BANK LIMITED in proceedings arising from the largest Ponzi scheme to be uncovered in South Africa.
  • Advised AMERICAN EXPRESS in a joint venture arbitration conducted under the rules of the LCIA relating to Amex's operations in the Middle East.
  • Successfully represented a number of Russian individuals and corporations in a multi-jurisdictional US$500m claim relating to the funding and finance of substantial real estate assets in Montenegro. Secured judgment discharging a worldwide freezing injunction (and similar orders in Cyprus, the BVI and Nevis) for material non-disclosure, and refusing jurisdiction on the basis that Russia is the proper forum.
  • Advised various private equity houses, including CENTERBRIDGE PARTNERS, in respect of litigious matters arising from the restructuring of Endemol.
  • Successfully resolved for the Russian Bank, OJSC URALSIB BANK, through High Court proceedings, a claim brought by the bank relating to the rights attaching to US$100 million in loan participation notes. The bank argued that resolutions proposed and passed by the majority noteholders affecting rights in the notes amounted to a fraud against the minority noteholders.
  • Successfully represented BAIN CAPITAL and the IDEAL STANDARD GROUP in declaratory proceedings relating to the powers of Majority Lenders, alleged events of default and the types of financial transaction that qualify as Equity Cures under a Senior Facilities Agreement. Bain Capital sponsored the acquisition of Ideal Standard for US$2 billion. (Strategic Value Master Fund Ltd v. Ideal Standard International Acquisition SARL & Ors [2011] EWHC 171 (Ch)).
  • Advised ARAB NATIONAL BANK on various matters.
  • Successfully settled for CREDIT SUISSE TRUST in Guernsey a High Court claim against an international bank for breach of duty and fraudulent misrepresentation in respect of advice given to invest in a US$50m property project in Dubai.
  • Successfully represented STANDARD CHARTERED BANK in proceedings before the High Court and Court of Appeal in relation to a substantial demand guarantee dispute, which formed part of a US$130m contract for the supply of electricity in Bangladesh (Greenland Bank -v- AMEX [2008] EWCH 421 (CH) and [2009] EWCA Civ 14).
  • Successfully represented AMERICAN EXPRESS in an appeal to the High Court relating to alleged minor technical defects in a default notice served pursuant s87(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The case is authority for the proposition that a minor technical defect relating to the service of a default notice does not prevent a lender from taking enforcement action where the borrower has not been prejudiced (American Express Services Europe Ltd -v- Ian Karl Robert Brandon [2010]).
  • Following the fallout from the economic collapse of Iceland, Masoud advised a number of financial institutions and other parties in respect of various disputes. This included advising SCHNEIDER FOREIGN EXCHANGE in a €35m dispute with an Icelandic Bank in respect of forex swaps, and advising a major retailer in respect of the enforcement of a “repo” agreement following the administration of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.
  • Part of the team who advised the ALTHINGI (the Icelandic Parliament) and its Budget Committee on a variety of matters arising from the loan agreements entered into between the depositors and investors guarantee scheme of Iceland and the commissioners of her majesties treasury. This followed earlier advice in respect of potential disputes arising from the collapse of Iceland’s major banks and action taken against Icelandic banks in the UK.
  • Advised MIRAX GROUP HOLDING BV in relation to a dispute in Russia and England over the terms of a US$300m facility agreement provided by an investment bank. The dispute centred on the transfer of the facility obligations to a new lender and the discrepancies arising out of the transfer.

Career History

Partner, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Partner, Glovers (2000 - 2005 Solicitor, Glovers)
Qualified, Peters & Peters

Articles and Publications

  • 'Euro clearing could continue from London post-Brexit, but
    with EC supervision', S&P Global Market Intelligence, 5 May 2017
  • 'A week after vote, eurozone already making eyes at London's clearing business', S&P Global Market Intelligence, 1 July 2016
  • 'BVI Litigation Update: Storca & Mulyukov -v- Minco, Norvalo, Golub & Ors.', MdR, 29 January 2016
  • 'Culture of risk to blame for rogue traders', The Trade News, 21 September 2013
  • 'Banks' changes to SME loans "unlawful", The Telegraph - 14 May 2012
  • 'UK right to sue ECB over clearing plan', The Trade News - 28 September 2011
  • 'Carey v HSBC & Associated Claims: Have We Seen the End of Consumer Credit Campaigns?’, British Bankers Association Newsletter - 28 February 2010
  • 'The Big Bank Theory’, Accounting & Business Magazine - September 2008
  • 'Striking the right balance between profitable growth and fraud risk management', British Bankers Association Newsletter - May 2008
  • 'Landmark Bank Charges case’, Bankers’ Law – April 2008
  • 'Payments Fraud', Bankers' Law – May 2007
  • 'Fraud & Risk Management', British Bankers’ Association Newsletter – August 2006
  • 'Why plans to stop identity theft not tough enough', Lexus Nexus Legal Updater – March 2005
  • 'New Chip & PIN card fraud-proof issuers claim', Lexus Nexus Legal Updater – April 2004


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