Middle East

Our dedicated Middle East Group includes lawyers from a wide variety of legal disciplines with experience in various industry sectors: the Group provides a seamless service advising many leading Middle East individuals, families, companies and institutions in their international investments and affairs both within the Region and globally as well as assisting international companies seeking to establish or protect their interests in the Region. 

The Group is headed up by Partner Martin Davies, who has lived and worked in the Middle East over many years. Martin is a regular visitor to the Region and deals with a wide range of matters for leading Middle East and other international clients, supporting them across the full breadth of their activities.

Whatever the nature of your opportunity or issue – be it a corporate transaction, a private equity or real estate investment, a dispute or a fundraising drive or whether we are reviewing family succession and tax structures, advising on family constitutions, dealing with reputation protection or dealing with relocation and immigration issues, we regard both the business goals and the personal family interests that affect them as one. We fiercely guard your interests, whenever and wherever you need us.

MDR Mayfair, our Private Family Office Advisory Services business, has an office in Dubai servicing significant families both in the region and as a base for families globally, working as appropriate with MDR Mayfair in Singapore and London to help families develop and implement strategies to safeguard their family's interests and preserve the family's assets for the future.

What follows is a selection of our experience in advising clients emanating from the Middle East, or in matters, disputes or transactions with a Middle East related element.

  • Advising a US law firm and its multi-national corporate client on set-up and inward investment in the UK and related joint ventures and licensing in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
  • Advising a Saudi Arabian entrepreneur on the establishment of a global luxury fashion brand including start-up and shareholder documentation, tax and corporate structures, IP protection and licensing and operational requirements relating to premises, employment and franchising.
  • Advising the world’s largest executive search organisation on its international franchising arrangements in the Middle East, South America (Brazil and Mexico) Poland, the UK and Portugal.
  • Advising the restaurant chain Carluccio’s on its multi-territory franchising arrangements for the Middle East, on a new overseas territory and on varying its arrangements in the Middle East.
  • Advising a North American entrepreneur and his consortium involving the setting up of an aircraft manufacturing and licensing joint venture involving 6 jurisdictions, including the UK and China.  Also advising the same client in respect of financing and strategy for other projects in the financial services and media sectors.
  • Advising in respect of a blockchain-enabled data marketplace platform for the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority – announced at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • Representing an oil exploration company in relation to a dispute in excess of $150 million against a Middle Eastern government.
  • Advising a senior member of a prominent Middle East family in respect of substantial claims and threatened claims of a highly sensitive nature made by a private individual; co-ordinating the legal team, including in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
  • Advising a shipping entity which was the victim of fraud obtaining search and freezing orders including recovery of substantial sums of money.
  • Acting for a corporate entity freezing assets in several jurisdictions (circa $60 million). Recovery for client of several millions.

Fraud

  • Investigation of massive impropriety relating to over $1billion of dishonoured loans and credit facilities on behalf of a major Middle Eastern bank. Acting in an investigation carried out by a substantial Middle Eastern aluminium producer coordinating the international investigation of allegations of fraud and money laundering involving tens of millions of dollars and spread across a number of jurisdictions.
  • Representing an oil exploration company in relation to a dispute in excess of $150 million against a Middle Eastern government.
  • Advising a Middle East-based entrepreneur in respect of substantial cross-border IP litigation, corporate set-up and a related IPO in the UK, and separately in respect of project financing for manufacturing facilities.
  • Advising a Saudi Arabian entrepreneur on the establishment of a global luxury fashion brand including start-up and shareholder documentation, tax and corporate structures, IP protection and licensing and operational requirements relating to Premises, Employment and Franchising.
  • Advising Tesco on its international franchising arrangements in connection with its F&F brand in the Middle East, USA, and Eastern Europe.

Tax and Wealth Structuring

  • Advising a Middle East UHNWI royal family in respect of their very substantial inherited assets throughout Europe (including the UK), reviewing the historical corporate and tax structures for in excess of 50 group companies, and advising on an updated structure, family succession and family constitution.
  • Advising the Principal of a senior Saudi Arabian Royal Family in a global structure review, including substantial UK and European residential and commercial real estate; a nationwide US commercial real estate Portfolio; numerous Trusts and related companies, private aircraft and superyachts having regard to succession, taxation management and reporting and generally updating the established structure.
  • Advising an international group of investors from the UK, US and Canada in the establishment of a Middle East based aviation manufacturing company in conjunction with a leading local sponsor family and the local Sovereign Fund as part of the host country's long term plans for the establishment of an aviation industry and involving working with the local sponsor and institution investors. 
  • Advising members of a prominent Middle East family on their substantial UK and European real estate inheritance having regard to their succession plans for their respective Heirs, local taxation considerations in multiple jurisdictions and the reallocation of assets between the family members, taking into account parallel reallocation within their home country in conjunction with the Protector of a family Trust and the local Inheritance Committee.
  • Advising a Saudi Arabian merchant family client in respect of a review of global trading and investment activities and related structuring with a particular focus on succession, tax and asset protection.  Assets and investments include a group of 75 companies in 17 countries, including the UK and Europe with over 5,000 employees and a substantial aviation and airport presence in Western Europe and food and agriculture business in South America. 
  • Advising the UAE founder, Chairman and the family of a well-known, internationally recognised, UAE real estate group in respect of his global affairs, including succession, taxation, family constitution and asset protection in multiple jurisdictions.

Immigration

  • Providing global immigration advice to clients and key intermediaries in the Middle East.
  • Working closely with our Tax and Wealth Planning, Residential Real Estate and Family Law groups to offer an integrated solution to immigration needs for Middle Eastern clients.
  • Assisting Middle Eastern entrepreneurs wishing to establish or invest in a business in the UK.
  • Advising Middle East HNWI and UHNWI families in respect of their inward investments to the UK, ranging from immigration and nationality (including Tier 1 investments), tax residence and domicile, real estate and hotel holding structures and related taxation and succession planning and family constitutions.
  • Acting for a high net worth family based in the Middle East in relation to cross-border civil fraud proceedings and extradition proceedings.
  • Advising a substantial Saudi Arabian family-owned trading company on its UK real estate and hotel acquisitions and investments.
  • Advising on the disposal of over £300 million of UK real estate for one Middle East family in London, comprising several adjacent plots in one of the most expensive London locations.
  • Advising senior members of a prominent UAE family in respect of their UK real estate investments, related taxation and family succession issues.
  • Advising initially on a $1.4 billion refinancing of iconic Hotels in multiple jurisdictions and thereafter acting in the proposed purchase of the Hotels.
  • Advising QDD, the joint venture vehicle set up by Delancey, Qatari Diar and APG, on the acquisition and forward funding of the Lewisham Gateway scheme; and advising Delancey, Qatari Diar, APG and Oxford Properties on the purchase and long-term management of East Village in Stratford, east London.
  • Fizzy Living: Backed by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, we acted on the forward funding of two private rented sector blocks with a value of in excess of £110 million, as part of the GLA’s Silvertown Way development in Canning Town, east London.
  • Private clients: We act in a confidential capacity for a number of clients based in the Middle East on high value acquisitions and developments of high end residential and commercial properties.
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