The Middle East
Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss lawyers represent clients from practically every country in the Middle East on a wide variety of international litigation and corporate matters. Our team, which includes native Arabic speakers, has on-the-ground experience and a network of longstanding working relationships and contacts throughout the region. After years of working in the region, we have developed an understanding of the traditions and business culture crucial to conducting business in this vibrant region.
Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss has managed some of the highest-profile fraud and corruption matters to have ever arisen in the Middle East. For years, we served as global legal coordinator for Saudi Arabian conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Company, managing the world-wide litigation and commercial negotiations resulting from one of the largest frauds in Middle East history. We served as U.S. counsel for the Liquidators of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), obtaining a $1 billion racketeering judgment against a Saudi national and working with a multinational team to obtain the first recognition in Saudi Arabia of a non-Arab League judgment. We have extensive experience representing and advising foreign sovereigns, including the Governments of Kuwait, and Egypt, on asset recovery, money laundering, fraud, anti-corruption and sovereign immunity matters. We routinely advise companies and individuals throughout the region on U.S. regulatory and criminal matters, including compliance with U.S. sanctions programs.
In our Middle East work, Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss evinces the highest commitment to our principles, working extensively on a variety of human rights cases. We have secured the release of a U.S. national sentenced to life in prison in Egypt on political charges, liaising with U.S. State Department, White House, members of Congress and key international power brokers over the course of his two year detention to obtain his release. We have represented detainees held by the U.S. Government at both Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Bagram, Afghanistan, and have secured the release of our clients and their return to their homes and families.
In the News
- Supreme Court Narrows Reach of Section 1782 Discovery Tool: Private Arbitrations Are Not Foreign or International Tribunals for Purposes of the Statute
The United States Supreme Court concluded in ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare, Ltd. that federal district courts cannot order discovery for use in a private foreign arbitration via 18 U.S.C. § 1782—a statute that permits litigants to seek discovery in federal court for “use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal.” The unanimous decision narrows a useful discovery tool by prohibiting parties in or contemplating private, foreign arbitration from obtaining discovery through federal courts for use in that arbitration.June 14, 2022
Waleed Nassar, a lawyer who worked on Egypt’s asset recovery efforts, said foreign banks regularly built personal relationships with wealthy customers in Egypt, who could then move money out of the country in a way that might have otherwise raised red flags. “You and I can’t go to a bank right now and get away with some of the most basic things that are atypical protocol-wise, but these guys can,” he said. “But for [the banks’] conduct, a lot of the money would have never have been able to be transferred outside of Egypt in the first place.”OCCRP.org, February 21, 2022
- LBKM Further Expands Capabilities in MENA with Sports and Entertainment Practice and the Addition of Nada Hachem as Foreign Legal CounselNew engagements in the region include World Cup kick-off event in Qatar.
In recent weeks, LBKM’s Middle East practice group expanded its reach to help launch a large-scale, multi-day event in Qatar to kick off the World Cup 2022. As part of these efforts, LBKM’s Sports and Entertainment group led negotiations with various talent agencies and third parties, managing myriad legal and logistical issues to bring together such public figures as Trevor Noah of The Daily Show; Jalen Rose and David Jacoby of ESPN; and NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady. The event served to promote cross-cultural understanding and demonstrate the ways in which sports and entertainment can be used to bridge cultural divides and effect social change.December 1, 2021
Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC is pleased to announce that John Moscow has been named to the 2021 New York Super Lawyers list. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in each state are selected to receive this honor. In addition, A. Mackenna White has been named to the 2021 New York Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected to receive this honor.September 30, 2021
Who's Who Legal recognized four Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss lawyers as leading asset recovery practitioners for 2021.August 2021
- Judge allows journalist to challenge claimed inclusion on U.S. drone ‘kill list’
“We are gratified that the court recognized that, as a U.S. citizen, Mr. Kareem has the right to be heard in court before his government can decide to kill him, and we look forward to these proceedings continuing to a final resolution,” said Tara J. Plochocki, partner with the Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss law firm.Washington Post, June 13, 2018
- New York Post reports FBI evidence in a lawsuit alleges Saudi Arabia's US embassy may have funded test run for Sept 11.
Waleed Nassar, an international disputes lawyer who represents two Saudi charities that are defendants in 9/11 litigation alongside Saudi Arabia, said, "the evidence, along with much of what has been submitted, is innuendo and circumstantial".
"The plaintiff's burden is to show something more direct, and that's really the only hope they have to have Saudi Arabia remain in the litigation," Nassar said.September 11, 2017
In September 2016, the US Congress passed the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act (“JASTA”) into law, overriding President Obama’s veto to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity for terrorism related claims and expanding liability under the Anti-Terrorism Act (“ATA”) to now also include those who ‘aid, abet, or conspire’ with a foreign terrorist organisation. JASTA’s twin expansions of liability now make it easier to hook Middle Eastern countries and institutions into the web of costly US litigation. As President Obama himself recognised as a basis for his veto, ‘courts [can] potentially consider even minimal allegations…sufficient to open the door to litigation and wide-ranging discovery…’Lexis Middle East Law, June 28, 2017
A host of likely legal challenges will confront Middle East related entities doing business in or with the United States under President Trump, write Waleed Nassar and Kate Toomey.The New Arab, January 16, 2017
"It's still their burden to prove their allegations, which right now is based on a lot of innuendo and leaps of logic," said Waleed Nassar, a partner at Lewis Baach, which represents two of the Saudi charities named in the case.The Hill, October 9, 2016
Mr. Lewis said that “there is no there there” on the allegations of any Saudi government role in the attacks, given the kingdom’s long history of being at war with Al Qaeda.
“The notion that senior Saudi officials or the Saudi government had an interest in supporting Sept. 11 and the attack on the World Trade Center is patently absurd,” he said.The New York Times, September 29, 2016
- Swiss banks froze Mubarak's assets hours after his removal. 5 years and a corruption conviction later, the money still hasn’t moved.Mada Masr, February 11, 2016
- Press Release: Retired Military Officials Tell Court that Contractors' Abuse of Prisoners at Abu Ghraib Violated Clearly Established Military StandardsSeptember 30, 2015
- Eric Lewis says Donald Trump is giving credence to those who stigmatize America's Muslims. He says such rhetoric is hateful and dangerous.September 20, 2015
- Fayis al-Kandari has been held without charge for 14 years in US prison in Cuba, where he was allegedly tortured.Aljazeera, July 28, 2015
- Mohammed Soltan was convicted of financing anti-goverment protest amid proceedings his lawyers describe as ‘a Kafkaesque political show trial’The Guardian, May 30, 2015
- BBC World Service Newshour, May 30, 2015
- The Business Monthly, American Chamber of Commerce Egypt, December 2012
Publications, Presentations & Events
In recent weeks, the world has been engulfed by the spread of COVID-19 as governments scramble to protect their citizens and avoid the collapse of public health systems and long-term damage to their economies. The wide-ranging efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 has created a tidal wave of ramifications for an international business community that is today more interconnected than ever, and led to high levels of uncertainty surrounding current and future contractual obligations. At a time when government policies fluctuate daily and courts and arbitration centers are becoming increasingly inaccessible to resolve active disputes, it is difficult for a party to seek or obtain interim measures or relief. From country to country and company to company, the responses have not been uniform: some commercial parties have continued to perform their obligations, while others have argued for wholesale abdication of their responsibilities, and still others are somewhere in between. Certain trends of government action and commercial response are emerging worldwide, no less so in the hyper-connected global businesses that are found in the Middle East.April 20, 2020
In these tough times, when clients are looking to protect assets and increase revenue, it is more important than ever to ensure that their arbitral awards are collectible. A truly successful outcome requires the ability to enforce and monetize the award that was won in the arbitration. When faced with a recalcitrant award debtor, it is imperative to think strategically and work closely with counsel and experts to enforce and identify recoverable assets.April 2, 2020
- November 2016
- Statement on OFAC’S Removal of IIROSA Philippines and Indonesia from OFAC Specially Designated Nationals ListAugust 18, 2016
- Four Things Businesses Should Know About the Agreement with IranJuly 2015
- May 30, 2015
- June 27, 2014