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Middle East & North Africa Desk

Our Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Desk represents multinational companies in a wide variety of legal matters, including inbound and outbound investments in the 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. With extensive regional experience, we provide guidance and support in every necessary area of the law, from dispute resolution, international trade and energy transactions to intellectual property, environmental and immigration law. Furthermore, 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.

MENA Desk Contact

A person with a beard is wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and a blue tie against a white background.
Aaron M. Bernay


Cincinnati, OH

Experience Highlights

Mergers, Acquisitions & Direct Investments

  • Advised a 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 a 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 a 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 an American defense firm with a 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 a 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 an Ohio-based non-profit to operate in Iran.
  • 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 a 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 a developer of two 100MW IPPs in Basra, Iraq (the Al Haritha and Al Shuaiba projects).
  • Advised a 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 a lawsuit brought against a major Middle Eastern airline by a 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.

Trade & Risk Compliance

  • Advised a German health care company on a global compliance matter involving advice from 21 jurisdictions across the Middle East and Africa.
  • Represented a U.S. company regarding an investigation into a United States Agency for International Development project as to whether certain payments in Egypt were improper.
  • Regularly vet potential Middle Eastern business partners for U.S. clientele using available data and information across multiple languages.

Intellectual Property

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

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