Complex Made Simple

Squire Patton Boggs strengthens sports law and finance expertise in UAE

Mr. Habibian, who will be based in the firm’s Abu Dhabi office, is a specialist in sports law and dispute resolution.

Squire Patton Boggs has appointed Jirayr Habibian as Of Counsel in its Global Corporate Practice in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Habibian, who will be based in the firm’s Abu Dhabi office, is a specialist in sports law and dispute resolution. He has additional extensive experience in banking and finance law, particularly compliance and regulatory related issues, including cross-border matters such as sanctions and anti-money laundering.

Mr. Habibian is an arbitrator before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (in Switzerland), where he has heard and resolved sports disputes, particularly football related, since December 2003. An Avocat à la Cour, he was also a Member of the Board of Directors and of the Disciplinary Committee of the Lebanese Football Federation (LFF).

Most recently he has served as Senior Legal Counsel to the Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, in charge of establishing and running the Court of Arbitration of Sport. In addition, he has been acting as Non-Executive Director of the Board of Lebanese Swiss Bank (S.A.L), where he chaired the Compliance Committee.

Mr. Habibian also has some 15 years’ experience of legal compliance in various areas of finance including asset management, private equity, corporate finance, and brokerage, as well as expertise in handling a wide range of regulatory matters including compliance with Sharia Law, international sanctions and anti-money laundering, an area in which he is a Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS).

Previously, Mr. Habibian held senior in-house roles in several major financial institutions in the region, including as Director, Chief General Counsel and Head of Regulatory Affairs at Rasmala Investment Bank Ltd, where he managed the legal and compliance function for the bank and its subsidiaries in Oman, Saudi, Egypt and UAE (DIFC and Abu Dhabi); as Head of Legal and Compliance at the Bank of Sharjah; and as Regional Head of Legal and Compliance for Standard Chartered Bank Northern Gulf and Levant.

Stephen Sampson, global head of Squire Patton Boggs’ sports practice, commented: “Our sports practice is expanding significantly in the global arena and the Middle East is a key growth area, where there is increasing interest and investment in sport of all kinds – from football to Formula One. Jirayr is a great addition to our global team and consolidates the work we’ve already been doing in the region. He is a well-known and well respected arbitrator and adviser in sport, with deep understanding of a wide range of regulatory and compliance issues.”

Bill Nash, managing partner of the firm’s Abu Dhabi office and MENA co-ordinator, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Jirayr. An incredibly versatile lawyer, Jirayr brings to our UAE practice expertise of the highest caliber not just in sports law, his passion, but also in banking and finance matters. Jirayr’s in-house experience of financial institutions in the region, as well as work in commercial and corporate matters as a private practitioner, will reinforce our capabilities here. His arrival, together with the transfer earlier this year of capital markets partner Tom Cerdan to our Dubai office, provides our clients with first-rate service in banking, finance and legal compliance.”