Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Desk

FBT’s Middle East & North Africa Desk (MENA Desk) represents multinational companies in a wide variety of legal matters, including in-bound investment from and out-bound investment in the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA Region). The MENA Desk is staffed by attorneys fluent in Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew languages who have worked and lived in the MENA Region.  The combination of our attorneys’ extensive regional experience and our international network of local counsel firms enables us to provide top-tier legal service to multinational clients with business interests in the MENA Region.

Our Attorneys

The MENA Desk consists of attorneys across several practice areas, including corporate, commercial, dispute resolution, international trade, oil and gas, energy transactions, intellectual property, environmental, and immigration law. The MENA Desk is led by Aaron Bernay, who co-chairs the FBT International Dispute Resolution team and has worked on commercial matters and disputes across the Middle East. Aaron is fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Representative Experience

A sampling of our attorneys’ experience across multiple service areas related to the Middle East.

Corporate Transactions/Mergers and Acquisitions/Direct Investment

  • Advised major American defense firm in connection with the establishment of its joint venture company and importation and sale of upstream assets in Saudi Arabia. 
  • Advised Japanese luxury goods corporation on its multi-million-dollar acquisition of shares in one of the largest importers and retailers of luxury watch brands in the UAE.  
  • Advised major American health care conglomerate in connection with a variety of public-private partnerships and the establishment of its joint venture/limited liability company to service the Saudi Arabian National Guard Health Affairs. 
  • Negotiated distributorship agreement on behalf of American defense firm with Saudi Arabian partner.
  • Routinely advise corporations on entity formation in the U.S. and Middle Eastern jurisdictions.
  • Advised one of the world’s largest quick-service restaurant companies concerning the restructuring of its UAE franchisee.

International Trade

  • Assisted U.S. medical device manufacturer with receiving guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department on exporting products to Iran.
  • Obtained U.S. Treasury Department approval for Ohio-based non-profit to operate in Iran.
  • Advised German health care company on a global compliance matter involving advice from 21 jurisdictions across the Middle East and Africa. 
  • Represented American manufacturer in negotiating compliance with Egyptian importer restrictions put in place in early 2016.
  • Regularly advise companies on issues of sanctions and export compliance for the Office of Foreign Assets Control, International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and Customs purposes.

Energy/Oil and Gas

  • Advised U.S. oil and gas service corporation on its $2 billion phased divestiture of global upstream assets in the Middle East, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
  • Advised developer of two 100MW IPPs in Basra, Iraq (the Al Haritha and Al Shuaiba projects).
  • Advised U.S. engineering company in establishing joint ventures in Saudi Arabia for major energy-related expansion projects, with related matters such as work permission, tax planning for individuals and company, and global mobility policy.

Dispute Resolution

  • Won dismissal of lawsuit brought against major Middle Eastern airline by passenger under the Montreal Convention.
  • Conducted third-party discovery in jurisdictions including Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan.
  • Successfully prosecuted breach of contract claims in an international arbitration (under the Rules of the London Court of International Arbitration) about a Saudi Arabian franchisee.

Due Diligence

  • Regularly vet potential Middle Eastern business partners for U.S. clientele using available data and information across multiple languages.

Trade/Risk Compliance

  • Advised German health care company on a global compliance matter involving advice from 21 jurisdictions across the Middle East and Africa.
  • Represented U.S. company regarding investigation into a United States Agency for International Development project as to whether certain payments in Egypt were improper.

Intellectual Property

  • Filed U.S. trademark application for a Turkish furniture maker.
  • Advised U.S. company about the licensure of defense-related patent to an Israeli company.