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Middle East & North Africa Practice

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Quinn Emanuel’s Middle East & North Africa (MENA) practice group represents both regional and international clients on their business interests across the Middle East and North Africa.  Our experience extends to jurisdictions such as Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Bahrain, Dubai, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen among others.

Breadth of Practice

The breadth of our disputes expertise in the region is unparalleled.  Over the years we have developed strong relationships with key government agencies and regulatory bodies across the region.  Due to this combination, we are frequently instructed to act on high value intra-region and outbound disputes.

Our practice areas include:

  • International Arbitration
  • Bilateral Investment Treaty Claims
  • Construction Disputes
  • Sovereign Wealth Fund Disputes
  • International Litigation
  • Regulation and Investigations
  • Energy Disputes

The broad scope of our expertise is reflected in the broad range of clients whom we represent in the region.  We have developed deep relationships with a broad range of clients, both government related and private sector.  By way of example, we have represented DP World, Agility, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Dubai Islamic Bank, Mubadala Petroleum, Capital Markets Authority of Saudi Arabia, Qatar Chemical and Qatar Foundation, amongst others.

While the Group has represented clients successfully in dozens of arbitrations, civil litigations and criminal matters that are not public, the Recent Representations tab displays some of our notable, public representations related to MENA.


Recent Representations

Sovereign Wealth Fund Disputes

  • DP World subsidiaries in LCIA arbitration proceeding against the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority and the Republic of Djibouti.
  • DP World in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration against a General Partner of a Fund in which DP World was the anchor investor, involving issues of fraud and breach of contract.
  • Dubai World in a lawsuit against China Merchants, a Chinese government owned company based in Hong Kong. In the suit, Dubai World alleges that China Merchants interfered with a number of contracts between Dubai World and the republic of Djibouti.
  • Abu Dhabi wealth fund in an ICC arbitration against a Maltese company relating to an overdue debt and interests in an Egyptian group. The dispute is governed by Egyptian law.  We obtained an award of approximately USD 80 million for our client, which we are now seeking to enforce.
  • Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds IPIC and Aabar in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Goldman Sachs.

Regulation and Investigations

  • Mubadala in the DOJ’s largest ever forfeiture case against co-investors alleged to have embezzled funds from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
  • Agility Public Warehousing Company in the largest government contracting fraud case ever brought by the US government. Agility, the former prime vendor of food to US troops in the Iraq war zone, resolved a six count felony indictment involving the nearly USD 10 billion prime vendor contract by agreeing to enter into a single count misdemeanor plea in connection with one invoice valued at USD 551 million.

International Litigation

  • The firm obtained a published decision from a unanimous panel of the DC Circuit, reversing a district court that had refused, on statute-of-limitations grounds, to enter a default judgment against Iran for its role in sponsoring Al Qaeda’s attack that killed the family member of our clients – alongside scores of others – working at the US Embassy in Kenya in 1998. This decision should clear the way for our clients now to recover fair compensation (from a fund Congress has established for this purpose) for Iran’s demonstrated state sponsorship of the terrorist attack that claimed the life of their loved one.
  • The Receiver and Manager of certain claims of the Libyan Investment Authority against Goldman Sachs and Société Générale.
  • The General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia in contentious matters regarding the Olympic Charter.
  • World Boxing Super Series, which organized the first professional boxing match in Saudi Arabia, in a number of contentious matters in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
  • A Kuwaiti businessman in an ICC arbitration worth over USD 3 billion involving a dispute between billionaire brothers over the division of family assets, and ancillary civil and criminal proceedings in several jurisdictions in relation to various alleged fraud committed by the other side in the arbitration.
  • Viceroy Hotel Group arising out of a dispute over management of its property in Dubai.
  • A Saudi restaurant franchise company in performing strategic and legal analysis of possible claims and arguments that might be asserted involving various franchise agreements with the franchisor (a US multinational).
  • A Saudi media and broadcasting company in an expedited DIFC-LCIA arbitration concerning a dispute with a joint venture partner on financing arrangements for the joint venture company.

Construction Disputes

  • A GCC semi government entity in a London seated ICC arbitration in excess of USD 3 billion in dispute, related to the construction of the world’s largest hospital project. Of particular note was that our client’s termination of the contractor JV’s construction contract was held to be valid.
  • A GCC government in a locally seated ICC arbitration related to the termination of a USD 2.5 billion construction contract, based on the FIDIC Yellow book, for the construction of two major railway stations associated below and above ground rail infrastructure.
  • A Jeddah based development company in relation to disputes arising from the construction of a number of hotels at Mecca.
  • The Capital Market Authority of Saudi Arabia in relation to a number of construction related issues arising from the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, KSA.
  • An African national oil company in a major arbitration in relation to the construction and exploitation of an oil and gas plant. The dispute arose out of additional costs allegedly incurred by the contractor during the execution of the project.  The value in dispute exceeded USD 300 million and related to an infrastructure project worth in excess of USD 1.7 billion.  The seat of the arbitration was Paris.
  • An African national oil company in an ICC arbitration initiated against a French multinational construction company in a dispute pertaining to delays and termination of a contract for the rehabilitation and adaptation of a refinery. The dispute value was in excess of USD 1.3 billion.

Energy Disputes

  • European oil and gas company in a dispute notably against a middle eastern country regarding its exit from an oilfield block.
  • International oil and gas company in a dispute notably against Yemen regarding its exit from an oilfield block in Yemen.
  • An Algerian government owned company against a European energy company in an ICC arbitration regarding the revision of the contractual price of two long-term LNG contracts. The amount in dispute exceeded USD 750 million .
  • An Algerian national electricity company, and two of its subsidiaries, in proceedings initiated by the majority shareholder of an Emirati company in a dispute regarding a long term electricity conversion agreement. The dispute revolves around the method of calculation of the price of electricity produced by a power plant in Algeria.
  • An Algerian government owned company against another company based in the MENA region in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings following a failed ICC conciliation. The dispute pertains to breaches of two contracts for the development and exploitation of oil fields.

Investor State Arbitrations

  • Two Lebanese shareholders of FBME Bank, as claimants, in an ICC arbitration against the Republic of Cyprus.
  • A Lebanese businessman, Abed El Jaouni, and ImperialJet in an ICSID arbitration worth over USD 1.2 billion against Lebanon arising out of the Germany-Lebanon bilateral investment treaty.
  • A Jordanian entrepreneur in three ICSID arbitrations against Egypt arising under the Jordan-Egypt bilateral investment treaty. Our client’s investments were focused on the container shipping, port and logistics sectors.
  • The Republic of Tunisia in an ICSID arbitration against ABCI based on the domestic investment law in a dispute pertaining to ABCI’s interest in a Tunisian bank.
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