MENA Private Equity Association

About Us

Our people are volunteers from the PE/VC community who work together to help develop the industry, and they include our members, partners, steering committee, taskforces, project teams and individuals.

Legal Taskforce

Our legal taskforce is made up of a voluntary group of legal experts with significant experience in MENA private equity.

The taskforce will also aim to keep members up to date on latest key regulatory developments, participate in consultation and comment on regional government policies, and help to give the industry a unified voice on regulatory change.

The Team

Legal Task Force

Tahir Ahmed, Local Partner, Dewey & LeBoeuf

Tahir AhmedTahir Ahmed is a corporate and corporate finance lawyer covering equity capital markets, private placements, mergers & acquisitions, private equity, fund formations, joint ventures and financial regulatory matters internationally as well as in the UK and MENA region.

He has advised leading international and local institutions on a number of ground breaking transactions in the MENA region.

Legal Task Force

Gary R. Feulner, Senior Counsel, Chadbourne & Parke

Gary R. FeulnerMr. Feulner has practiced law since 1977. From 1991 until 2010 he was General Counsel to Dubai-based SHUAA Capital, a UAE investment banking institution engaged in private equity investment and financial services. Previously he practiced with Chadbourne & Parke in New York, Washington DC, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where he headed the Abu Dhabi office of Chadbourne, Parke & Afridi from 1984 to1990.

His experience includes extensive international transactional and financial services work (including private equity, mutual funds, public offerings and securities brokerage) as well as regulatory, banking, litigation, bankruptcy, employment and general corporate law, investment tax planning, compliance and public relations.

Legal Task Force

Benjamin Aller: Managing Partner, SJ Berwin

Benjamin AllerBenjamin Aller, is Managing Partner of SJ Berwin's Middle East practice and head of its Investment Funds Group across the MENA region. Benjamin currently advises a number of private equity fund managers operating in the Middle East and has more than fifteen years experience advising European private equity fund managers. He has acted on the formation of a wide range of vehicles including venture capital funds, buyout funds, infrastructure funds, private equity real estate funds, and funds of funds.

In his work for investors, he has advised on more than one hundred limited partner investments and routinely acts for buyers or sellers in secondary transactions involving funds. Benjamin is a member of both the Paris and New York bars, and he is registered as a legal consultant in the United Arab Emirates.

Legal Task Force

Bilkis Ismail : counsel, SJ Berwin

Bilkis Ismail

Bilkis is dual qualified as a barrister and chartered tax adviser and is employed as counsel by SJ Berwin's Dubai office.

Bilkis specialises in the structuring and formation of private equity, infrastructure, real estate and mezzanine funds, and co-investment schemes for institutional and private investors. She also regularly acts for investors investing into funds.

Bilkis has developed a specialism in Islamic Finance. She has structured a number of sharia'a compliant private equity and infrastructure funds and sharia'a compliant carried interest arrangements. She has also given sharia’a structuring advice, including advice on structuring sharia'a compliant mezzanine funds, and has spoken at a number of conferences on sharia’a funds.

Bilkis regularly advises clients on the applicable regulatory regimes for marketing funds in the GCC.

Legal Task Force

James (Jim) Knight, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP*

James (Jim) KnightJames (Jim) Knight is a Partner in Morgan Lewis’ Dubai office. He focuses primarily on M&A, private equity, and capital markets transactions. Jim has more than 20 years of legal and financial experience working with senior management and boards of directors on corporate transactions and governance matters across a broad range of industries. He has recently advised Lime Rock Partners, TVM Capital MENA and other private equity firms in several innovative MENA region transactions.

In addition to his law firm experience in Dubai, New York and Houston, Jim served three years as in-house counsel for a NYSE-listed company based in New York that controlled a diversified portfolio of operating companies, and he has held senior legal and financial positions with venture-backed private companies.

Admitted to practice: Texas, 1992; New York, 1997

Legal Task Force

Ayman A. Khaleq, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP*

Ayman A. KhaleqAyman A. Khaleq serves as Managing Partner of Morgan Lewis’ Dubai office. His practice focuses on M&A and private equity transactions in the Middle East as well as on the formation of innovative Shari'a-compliant funds and structured products. Ayman also represents clients in connection with corporate and structured finance transactions with a particular emphasis on the structuring and documentation of Islamic finance and investment products (including Sukuk offerings backed by pools of global assets). He was recently appointed by the International Monetary Fund as an expert in the field of debt capital markets.

Ayman has been advising clients in the MENA region for more that 15 years and is regularly ranked as one of the best lawyers in the Middle East for funds work and Islamic finance transactions by leading industry and legal publications including Chambers Global, Euromoney and Islamic Finance News. He is fluent in Arabic and English.

Admitted to practice: Jordan, 1996; New York State, 2004; Registered Foreign Lawyer: Law Society of England and Wales, 2007

Legal Task Force

Nadim Kayyali, Eversheds

Nadim KayyaliNadim is a partner in Sanad Law Group (in association with Eversheds) with particular expertise in providing advice in relation to mergers and acquisitions and other transactional work. He also has substantial experience representing private equity and venture capital firms, incubators and private investors in connection with their investments in Jordan. Nadim also has experience in advising on the structuring and financing of infrastructure and developments projects.

Prior to joining Eversheds, Nadim worked as the lead in-house commercial attorney for Microsoft Corporation in the Middle East and Africa from 2004 to 2007. He was responsible for covering the region in connection with all legal issues of concern to the company. The position entailed counselling on legal Issues, drafting agreements and attending negotiation sessions in connection with licensing and services deals and other commercial transactions in both the public and commercial sectors. The position entailed heavy transactional support, constant business counseling and corporate and regulatory compliance work. Prior to joining Microsoft, Nadim was a Senior Attorney with a Jordanian based firm acting as the lead attorney for the commercial team.

Legal Task Force

Omar Salah Bassiouny, DLA Matouk Bassiouny

Omar Salah BassiounyOmar Salah Bassiouny is the Executive Partner and Head of Corporate at DLA Matouk Bassiouny, a first tier international law firm based in Cairo, part of the international DLA Piper Group.

Omar's primary expertise is mergers and acquisitions with an in-depth focus on private equity/venture capital, where he has advised institutional and private investors, as well for the investee companies. Omar's expertise also includes general corporate advisory and foreign investment, securities related transactions involving stock exchange and Capital Market Authority including bonds issuing, funds management, dual securities listing and he has strong experience in project finance. He also advises on real estate, labour and commercial law matters. Omar has also substantial experience in the field of Egyptian privatisation: he has advised a variety of multinationals and local investors on the privatisation of public sectors banks, fertiliser and cement factories.

Legal Task Force

Chris Harran, Dewey & LeBoeuf

Chris HarranChris Harran has a funds, corporate and structured finance background and extensive experience in connection with international commercial transactions, financings, tax and structure planning and general corporate matters. Prior to joining Dewey & LeBoeuf, he worked at an international offshore law firm based in Jersey in the Channel Islands, and in the financial services group of a major law firm in London.

Mr. Harran has a broad range of experience in all types of investment fund, private equity structures and portfolio transactions, including advising promoters and investors in the structuring, establishment, operation and promotion of investment funds. He also advises on asset management and investment advisory relationships and on financial services regulation in MENA.

Legal Task Force

Benjamin Newland, King & Spalding

Benjamin NewlandBenjamin Newland is a partner in King & Spalding’s Dubai office, where he has been resident for more than five years. Benjamin's practice covers a broad range of financial and corporate matters, with particular emphasis on mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buyouts, including Shari’ah-compliant buyouts and investments, and investment fund formation. Benjamin is recognized as a leading Middle East funds formation and private equity lawyer by publications such as Chambers Global, Islamic Finance News and The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa. He has advised on numerous private equity investment transactions and fund formations for Middle East clients, including Arcapita Bank, Eastgate Capital, Swicorp, Al Rajhi Capital, Jadwa Investment, MASIC and Dubai Capital Group.

Prior to joining King & Spalding, Benjamin co-founded and served as vice president of The Active Network (NYSE: ACTV), the leading provider of technology and marketing services to the amateur sports and recreation industries. Upon graduation from law school, Benjamin was an associate with the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Benjamin received his law degree from The University of Chicago Law School. He received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Admitted to Practice: California, New York

Legal Task Force

Rindala Beydoun, Founder and Managing Partner, Tribonian Law Advisors

Rindala BeydounRindala is the founder and managing partner of Tribonian Law Advisors. Resident in both the Dubai and Beirut offices, Rindala's practice focuses on domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, real estate development and asset purchases, as well as a wide variety of corporate transactions. She also has significant experience advising on restructuring and reorganization matters in the MENA region and internationally. Rindala is fluent in English, Arabic and French. Rindala Beydoun is ranked as a leading lawyer for UAE Corporate/Commercial work by Chambers Global.

Legal Task Force

Carlo Pianese, Partner, Tribonian Law Advisors

Carlo PianeseCarlo is a partner at Tribonian Law Advisors. Resident in the Dubai office, Carlo’s practice focuses on cross-border and domestic mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, early stage investments, fund formation and equity capital markets. Carlo is fluent in English and Italian. Carlo spent seven years practicing in Europe before moving to Dubai in 2008. He has extensive experience working on tens of cross-border transactions across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa.

Legal Task Force

Jacques Visser, National Partner, Dechert LLP

Jacques Visser Jacques Visser is a National Partner in the offices of Dechert LLP in Dubai and has been practicing law in the Middle East for more than 10 years. He has extensive experience advising on all legal, regulatory, compliance, registration and distribution aspects of setting up funds and investment structures in a variety of onshore and offshore jurisdictions, inclusive of mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity funds and venture capital funds, both on conventional and Shari'a-compliant platforms. The funds and investment structures established by him since 2006 have raised in excess of US$ 2 bln.

Mr. Visser has deep expertise in private equity and venture capital investment structures in emerging and frontier markets and the merger and acquisition transactions emanating from those structures. Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Visser ran his own Dubai-based funds and investment management consultancy. He was also the general counsel and founding partner of Dubai-based Algebra Capital Limited prior to its acquisition by Franklin Templeton Investments and he served as Managing Director of Franklin Templeton Investments (ME) Limited in Dubai subsequent thereto.

His industry experience includes serving on the ESCA UAE Fund Regulations Industry Consultation Panel (2011) and acting as a member of the DIFC Funds Panel (2010). He has also served as a director on the board of Algebra Capital Limited and a number of fund boards managed by Algebra and Franklin Templeton.

Mr Visser has a Master's Degree in Banking and Capital Markets Law and was admitted to practice law in South Africa in 1995.

Legal Task Force

Nabil Issa, King & Spalding

Nabil Issa Nabil Issa is a partner in the Middle East and Islamic Finance Group of King & Spalding, working from the Dubai and affiliated Riyadh offices.

Mr. Issa’s experience includes work in the areas of banking and finance, Shari’ah-compliant funds, private equity, international investments, privatizations, venture capital, healthcare, education and energy industry transactions, and Islamic finance issues. He is particularly known for his development of innovative Shari’ah-compliant CMA funds and investment structures for real estate and private equity investments in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Mr. Issa is highly ranked in the 2008-2016 editions of Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business for his corporate and funds work throughout the Middle East and particularly in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the 2014-2016 editions of Chambers Global, Mr. Issa is regularly recognized as a leading lawyer for his corporate work in Saudi Arabia and in Band 1 for his work on investment funds in the Middle East, in addition to being highly ranked for his corporate work in the UAE and throughout the Middle East. Mr. Issa is also recommended as a leading lawyer in banking and financing matters in the Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa and was named among the “Leading Lawyers ” by Islamic Finance News in all 15 categories.

Admitted to practice: New York, New Jersey and District of Columbia

Legal Task Force

James Stull, King & Spalding

James James Stull is a partner with King & Spalding based in the firm’s Dubai and Riyadh offices. Mr. Stull represents Middle East and international sponsors in the structuring and formation of a range of Shari’ah-compliant and conventional investment funds, including private equity funds, venture capital funds, real estate funds, hedge funds and debt funds. He advises clients on securities laws and the corporate and regulatory aspects of structuring, establishing and liquidating various fund structures. He also has extensive experience representing institutional investors in their investments in private funds

He has represented and advised clients on structuring, investment, acquisition and exit strategies in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In particular, he regularly advises clients seeking to raise money or deploy capital in the United States, the various GCC jurisdictions and the wider MENA region. Mr. Stull has advised clients in the structuring and establishment of asset management and advisory businesses and the formation of carried interest plans and management arrangements among fund principals. Mr. Stull also has substantial experience in cross border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, restructurings and general corporate and securities matters.

Admitted to practice: Georgia and District of Columbia

Legal Task Force

Mohamed Y. Alem, Alem & Associates

Mohamed Y. Alem Founder and senior partner of Alem & Associates, a leading Beirut based regional law firm with offices in Riyadh and Dubai. Mohamed is one of the highly reputable lawyers in the Middle East on account of his practice where he focuses on banking & finance, energy, and complex commercial cross-border transactions. Mohamed also works with Governments and regulators on shaping the legal infrastructure necessary to improve the business environment (e.g. reform of the code of commerce, introduction of preferred shares, introduction of private equity fund structures, etc…)

He is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences on a multitude of current legal subjects. He is currently acting as Secretary General of the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies (LCPS), and is chairing the Lebanese Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). He holds an LLB, an LLM, as well as an Executive MBA.

Alem & Associates
126 Foch Street, Beirut Central District
Beirut 2012 6609, Lebanon
Tel: +961 1 999 717
Fax: +961 1 999 607

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