Baker McKenzie has strengthened its tax and disputes practices in the UAE, recruiting leading partners in the fast growing areas of VAT and international commercial arbitration.

The Firm's UAE offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which are now operating under the name of Baker McKenzie LLP, continue to invest in the UAE, building on the Firm's key transactional and advisory practices.

Tina Hsieh joins Baker McKenzie from EY, where she was tasked with growing EY’s VAT business in the Gulf region, following her success in this area at PWC. Tina qualified at EY Australia and spent several years in their Asian offices on secondment before relocating to the Middle East in 2017.

With the roll out of VAT introductions in a number of jurisdictions in the Middle East, Tina is recognised as a key player with a number of major clients in the financial services industry and beyond. She has dedicated her time going to the market, collaborating with other practice groups, leading discussion forum groups and associations and strategising the VAT approach in the region.

Luka Kristovic-Blazevic joined the Firm recently from White & Case, where he was a partner based in their Riyadh office. Luka began his career as a trainee at White & Case Paris in 2005, where he also held associate and counsel positions, before relocating to the Middle East where he worked for a number of years in the Doha, Dubai and Riyadh offices.

Luka heads the Middle East arbitration practice and specialises in international commercial arbitration with a particular focus on complex international construction disputes. He has extensive experience of arbitral proceedings conducted under the various institutional arbitration centres (ICC, LCIA, DIAC and ICSID). Luka's previous work includes arbitration proceedings, ADR and dispute avoidance work relating to, among other projects, nuclear power plants, airports, highways, hotel/resorts, petrochemical plants, ports and oil pipelines.

Commenting on these appointments, Baker McKenzie UAE Managing Partner Borys Dackiw said:

"As Baker McKenzie begins a new chapter in the UAE, it is very encouraging to welcome such talented practitioners as Tina and Luka into our business. We continue to invest in talent strategically as we renew our focus on key transactional and advisory practice areas as well as international arbitration and complex cross border disputes. A key part of our offering in the Middle East is to leverage the Firm's people and knowledge here and globally for the benefit of both our international clients and local and regional clients with ambitious growth plans. This has not changed."

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