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For more than a decade, Covington has served business entities, government agencies, and private investors with interests throughout the Middle East and the GCC states, including Bahrain, the Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Our team includes lawyers who have lived and worked across the region, and we have developed a close network of local counsel and experts to ensure comprehensive, localized, and objective advice.
Combining local knowledge and global reach, we support our clients with strategic advice across business lines, territories, and sectors. As regional companies have grown and expanded internationally, they have turned to us for advice on their most critical business matters. We understand the challenges of doing business in vastly different legal contexts, and we help navigate our clients through the narrow channels of unfamiliar markets and territories.
Our “law plus policy” focus is unique in the region: our lawyers and policy advisors include a trove of former high-ranking government officials and policymakers who provide unparalleled support to our government clients, including individual ministries, national heritage companies, and other state-owned or -controlled enterprises in areas of trade and business policy, regulatory development, and global regulatory interface.
Whether supporting foreign companies doing business in the Gulf or assisting local businesses in their efforts to expand internationally, our lawyers and experts partner with our clients to tackle their most complex commercial and legal challenges.
Our client, a major Middle East regional airline, issued an RFP for information technology services and a global ticket distribution arrangement. The Covington team, coordinated between our London and New York offices, deployed locally to manage the entire process—from receiving bids to negotiating the final contract valued at over one billion dollars.
When a newly formed government ministry in the Middle East was charged with developing “best-in-class” regulations, they turned to our policy experts and senior international advisors to design a regulatory system that would not only surpass global benchmarks, but would comport with the local legal system. Combining decades of government experience, key regulatory development, and local insight, our team delivered practical, implementable rules that are still in force today.
A government entity needed to purchase a large number of military vehicles. The procurement required contractors and technology from several jurisdictions and a long-term supply arrangement. From international trade controls and U.S. and EU military sales advice to commercial terms, Covington provided strategic direction as we simultaneously ensured that the documents met local and international requirements.
Our client, a major energy company, sought to maximize the value of its intellectual property while limiting its own liability in the treacherous waters of international patent disputes. Combining U.S. and EU regulatory expertise with a multi-jurisdictional strategy, our senior advisors and lawyers designed a corporate structure that would create and generate long term value with minimal risk to the parent entity.
Advising the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation and the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo to undertake a legal environment evaluation project for philanthropy in the Arab World.
We provided policy advice to the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi on how the Embassy in Washington, DC could be most effective in representing the UAE’s interests. In a follow-on project, we advised on factors to consider in establishing a business-oriented consulate on the West Coast of the United States.
Extensive advice to U.S. and non-U.S. oil and gas companies on the scope and application of sanctions and retaliatory measures targeting Iran, including advice on pending U.S. enforcement matters.
Advising OCP S.A. in all aspects of its commercial and strategy and its prospective investments in North Africa, Latin America, Europe, U.S. and Turkey by means of joint ventures, equity and mergers and acquisitions.
Conducted a post-acquisition trade compliance review for a global pharmaceutical company that included a voluntary disclosure to the U.S. Commerce Department. We also provided related Iran sanctions advice.
Represented Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on various matters, including in its acquisition of the remaining membership interests in Cubic Advanced Technical Systems.
Represented Mubadala Development Company and Advanced Technology Investment Company in joint venture with Advanced Micro Devices to form GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and represented GLOBALFOUNDRIES in its acquisition of IBM’s semiconductor manufacturing business.
Represented Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, on a multi-faceted technology and distribution deal with Sabre valued at over a $1 billion.
Represented UBS in the negotiation of a new long-term services agreement with Bloomberg for the calculation and administration of commodities indices.
We represented both companies in SABIC’s acquisition of the GE Plastics business.
Negotiated resolution of concerns that the contractor building the U.S. embassy in Baghdad had thousands of unauthorized deviations from specifications, which prevented the U.S. State Department’s acceptance of the sprawling compound. Demonstrated in senior-level meetings and on-the-ground inspections that the project was materially compliant, leading to acceptance and the resolution of investigations by multiple agencies and Congress.
Represented American Airlines in a software development and outsourced technology services agreement with HP for a next generation reservation, inventory, and availability system.
Represented American Airlines in information technology services agreements with Amadeus, Sabre, HP, and ITA Software.
Represented AudioCodes in its acquisitions of Netrake Corp and Nuera Communications.
Represented Check Point Software Technologies in the company’s acquisitions of NFR Security, Inc., the security appliance business of Nokia, Liquid Machines, Inc., and PointSec Mobile Technologies.
Represented Virgin Galactic in Aabar Investments PJSC’s investment in the company.
Represented FastenTech in its sale to Doncasters Group, a subsidiary of Dubai International Capital.
Through the United Nations Development Program, the International Senior Lawyers Project, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program, we provide procurement law expertise and training to senior procurement officials of foreign governments including Liberia, Iraq, and Afghanistan to help those countries build capacity for conducting predictable and transparent procurements. This experience allows us to provide specific, knowledgeable advice to clients wishing to pursue procurements conducted by foreign governments.
Representation of a European oil and gas major in an ICC arbitration under English law arising out of a field services agreement relating to operations in the Middle East.
Advised companies regarding U.S. and EU sanctions on the Qaddafi regime in Libya and the Assad regime in Syria, including obtaining licenses to permit certain ongoing business activities in Libya.
One of the world’s largest global mass media companies needed support on a range of issues that intersect law and policy. We helped the client:
Developed an international benefits plan for employees in Dubai, the U.S., and the UK.
Have helped companies understand U.S. retaliatory sanctions directed at Iran (through the Iran Sanctions Act as recently amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, or CISADA) and counterpart EU measures.
Representing a high-profile media entity in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of business practices in the Middle East.
Representing the Economic Cities Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the development of legal and regulatory infrastructure for the Kingdom’s Economic Cities project.
Reviewed on behalf of U.S. interests defamation and free expression laws proposed for Iraq by a coalition of international experts.
Represented Mohamed Bin Hammam, former president of the Asian Football Confederation, in his successful challenge before the Court of Arbitration for Sport to his FIFA-ordered lifetime ban from football (soccer) for alleged vote-buying in FIFA’s presidential election.
Represent Mubadala Development Company and its portfolio companies, such as the semiconductor company GLOBALFOUNDRIES, on CFIUS and related advice in connection with potential acquisitions in the United States, including the company’s investment in Advanced Micro Devices.
A major U.S.-based infrastructure company turned to us for help bidding for contracts on major infrastructure projects in Bahrain and Egypt. Through our contacts with high-ranking embassy officials, we ensured our client’s bids received fair and equal treatment and consideration in the tender process, and we helped the client secure the contracts it was pursuing.
Represented Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in its acquisition of the remaining membership interests in Cubic Advanced Technical Systems.
Represented GLOBALFOUNDRIES in its acquisition of IBM’s semiconductor manufacturing business. The transaction was significant because IBM’s semiconductor business was the original member—and IBM remains the most significant participant— in the U.S. government’s Trusted Foundry Program.
Represented Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) in its acquisitions of a 50 percent interest in a wind farm from EDF and of a tolling arrangement in the electric power industry.
Represented Check Point Software Technologies in the company’s acquisitions of NFR Security, Inc., security appliance business of Nokia, Liquid Machines, Inc., and PointSec Mobile Technologies.
Represented the Carlyle Group in various matters, including sale of Landmark and Standard Aero to Dubai Aerospace International, and proposed sale of John Maneely Company to OSJC Novolipetsk Steel.
Represented a multinational financial services provider in strategic matters relating to potential Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) litigation pursuant to the EU sanctions against Iran.
Conducted an Iran sanctions investigation for a major pharmaceutical company.
Secured export licenses enabling leading pharmaceutical companies to sell millions of dollars’ worth of medical products to Iran and Sudan, and permitting consumer products companies to export agricultural commodities to those countries.
Represented the Carlyle Group in various matters, including the sale of Landmark and Standard Aero to Dubai Aerospace International.
Represented Elbit Systems in acquisitions of Tadiran Communications (including Talla-Com and Tallahassee Technologies), Innovative Concepts, and M7 Aerospace (among others).
Advising Giorgio Armani S.p.A. on its collaboration with a listed Dubai property company for the development of a worldwide chain of Armani hotels and resorts.
Advised major international oil and gas companies concerning the application of U.S. sanctions against Iran, Syria, and other U.S.-sanctioned countries to their businesses.
Representation of Amoco (now BP America) against the Islamic Republic of Iran before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. We obtained an award of over US$850 million, one of the largest awards ever rendered by that tribunal and one of the largest arbitration awards ever fully paid by a respondent state.
A major oil company in a SEC investigation into activities in a Middle Eastern nation.
Representation of American Express in the divestiture of its global travel business to form a joint venture with Certares LP, which was the largest foreign investment ever in a travel management company and included Middle Eastern government-owned investors.
December 15, 2016, The Hill
Layth Elhassani helped drafted HR 6510: The Save the Children Act, which authorizes granting temporary visas to 25,000 Syrian refugee children to live in the U.S. until the civil war in their country ends. The Hill highlights the bill’s introduction to Congress by Rep. Mike Honda and Mr. Elhassani’s pro bono efforts.
October 17, 2016, Covington Alert
Effective today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (“CACR”) and the U.S. Commerce department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) has amended the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to expand permissible dealings involving Cuba, further easing the longstanding U.S. ...
June 24, 2016, Covington Alert
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in an advisory referendum. 52% leave - 48% remain.
Were the UK to leave the EU, this would have significant implications for the UK and for international businesses operating in the UK. The longer term impact of the decision on the regulatory framework for the UK will depend, in part, on the relationship that the UK ...
May 4, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
David Addis is quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article discussing technology exports to Iran, and how the Iran nuclear deal may pave the way for those exports. According to Addis, “Companies that were allowed to do trade in Iran found that even though they were able to sell devices, they had difficulty finding a financial actor” to facilitate the action. ...
January 28, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC - Law360 has named six Covington practice groups among its “Practice Groups of the Year.”
The practice groups recognized by Law360 are as follows:
November 18, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, November 18, 2015 - The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) has awarded Covington a perfect score of 100 percent for the eighth consecutive year on its Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality. Covington is among 400 major US businesses that ...
August 7, 2015, Foreign Policy
July 23, 2015, Global Arbitration Review
A piece on our new arbitration app quoting Marney Cheek, Jeremy Wilson and Stephen Bond and mentioning William Lowery’s and Catherine Karia’s roles in developing the app.
June 8, 2015, GlobalPolicyWatch Blog
May 28, 2015, Covington Alert
February 11, 2015, New York Times
Covington's Roger Zakheim quoted in this New York Times article about the Obama Administration’s proposed authorization to use military force against the Islamic State.
December 9, 2014, Fox News
Covington's Roger Zakheim was interviewed by Fox News.
August 31, 2014, Defense News
Roger Zakheim is quoted in this article on the Islamic State terrorist group and its implications on the Defense Department's 2015 budget proposal.
"Lawmakers want Obama to seek congressional approval before launching any strikes against Islamic State targets inside Syria. Zakheim said such a vote could give House and Senate leaders an opportunity to use a new ...
July 18, 2014, National Journal
Howard Berman was interviewed by The National Journal on Iran sanctions.
March 10, 2010, The Brief