Cleary Gottlieb Opens Office in Abu Dhabi

September 6, 2012

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP announced today that it has opened an office in Abu Dhabi, having received a license from the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Partner Gamal Abouali, who has worked in the firm’s New York office and was until recently based in Paris, has relocated to Abu Dhabi to head the office.

“For several decades now we have represented both corporate and sovereign clients in many of the most important transactions in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Leddy. “Our Abu Dhabi office will enable us to better serve our clients based in the Middle East and North Africa as well as those who have interests in the region. The office continues our tradition of thoughtful and deliberate expansion into markets where we have developed significant business and see long-term growth prospects.”

The Abu Dhabi office is fully integrated with the firm’s Middle East and North Africa practice, which comprises approximately 20 partners and counsel based in Abu Dhabi, London, Paris, New York, and Frankfurt. It offers clients in the Middle East and North Africa and those doing business in the region access to the full range of services of Cleary Gottlieb’s offices, including its leading practices in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, litigation and arbitration, bankruptcy and restructuring, and project finance and infrastructure.

“Gamal’s broad range of practice, his insightful understanding of the region, his appreciation for the local business environment and his fluency in the main business languages of the region make him well suited to head our new office,” Mr. Leddy continued.

Mr. Abouali said “I have many personal and professional connections to the Middle East and North Africa so this is an exciting opportunity for me and for the firm. I look forward to continuing the good work of our firm and enhancing our reputation in the region.”

About Cleary Gottlieb’s Middle East Practice

With a decade of experience in the Middle East and North Africa and an unparalleled global presence, Cleary Gottlieb’s Middle East and North Africa practice advises both corporate and sovereign clients, including sovereign wealth funds, in some of the largest transactions in the region.

Practice highlights include:

  • Ranked by Chambers Global as one of the best firms in the region for capital markets, corporate/commercial and investments funds.

  • #2 in Middle East & North African M&A for H1 2012 by Thomson Reuters (announced and completed, based on value).

  • #3 in Africa & Middle East M&A for H1 2012 by Mergermarket (announced, based on value).

  • #1 in Emerging Markets M&A for 2010 by Thomson Reuters (announced and completed, based on value).

  • Counsel to Wind Telecom and Orascom Telecom Holdings, the mobile telecommunications companies led by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, in its $21 billion merger with VimpelCom.

  • Counsel to Orascom Telecom Media and Telecommunications Holdings S.A.E. in the sale of a $1 billion stake in Egypt mobile carrier Mobinil to France Telecom and the subsequent
    mandatory tender offer by France Telecom.

  • Counsel to Lafarge in its $15 billion acquisition of the cement business of Orascom Construction Industries, one of the largest-ever corporate transactions to occur in the Middle East.

  • Counsel to Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) in its acquisition of Atlantique Telecom and in winning an ICC arbitration and damages against Planor Afrique in relation to an investment in Burkina Faso.

  • Counsel to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi in its successful challenge to the jurisdiction of the English courts in connection with a substantial claim brought against the bank and a senior diplomatic figure in the United Arab Emirates.

  • Counsel in the IPOs of Investcom (the first DIFX listing), Depa, Investcorp, Bank Muscat, Alba and Amer Group, and counsel to the Government of Jordan in the IPO of the state-owned Jordan Telecommunications Company and subsequent divestment.

  • Counsel to the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq in connection with the Basrah Gas Company project, a joint venture between South Gas Company (an Oil Ministry affiliate), and affiliates of Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi Corporation.

  • Counsel to the Republic of Iraq in successfully defending its sovereign immunity in the English Court of Appeal, in relation to a $35 million claim by a Saddam Hussein-era creditor.

  • Counsel to Istithmar, owned by Dubai World, in numerous acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures, including its joint venture with MGM Mirage and Kerzner International Holdings for the development of a Las Vegas resort; the acquisition, in partnership with Nakheel, of a 20% stake in Cirque du Soleil; the $3.6 billion acquisition of Kerzner International; and the $945 million acquisition of Barneys.

  • Counsel to Meraas Capital in a joint venture with Boston Properties Limited Partnership to purchase the landmark GM Building for $2.8 billion and three other New York City office buildings for an additional $1.1 billion.

About Cleary Gottlieb

Founded in 1946 by lawyers committed to legal excellence, internationalism, and diversity, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is a leading international law firm with approximately 1,200 lawyers around the world.