Michael Foundethakis

Baker & McKenzie A.A.R.P.I.


Michael Foundethakis is an English and French qualified partner based in the Paris office of Baker McKenzie. He acted as the Global Chair of Baker McKenzie's Banking & Finance Practice between May 2017 and July 2020. Michael currently heads Banking & Finance in Paris and is also Global Head of Project and Trade & Export Finance for the firm and also Chair of the Firm's Africa Strategy Steering Committee.

Michael is highly recommended as a leading banking and finance lawyer by Chambers Global, Legal 500, JUVE and IFLR. Additionally, he was the exclusive winner of the ILO Client Choice Award 2011 in Banking for Germany and again winner of the same award in 2017 in Banking for France. A team led by Michael Foundethakis was awarded Banking, Finance & Restructuring Team of the Year at The African Legal Awards 2015.

Practice Focus

Michael has broad experience acting for both lenders and borrowers in a wide range of international finance transactions. He is primarily involved in cross- border project finance (including vendor financing), structured trade finance (including ECA-backed export finance), acquisition finance, FI Lending, financial restructurings and the trading of distressed loans in the secondary debt market. Much of this work entails dealing with export credit agencies, multilateral development banks and other governmental institutions. His main focus is on emerging markets, particularly Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS and Africa.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Acting for the lenders led by SMBC Bank International plc, with MUFG Bank, Ltd. as agent, on a USD 400 million JICA supported covered facilities agreement to African Export-Import Bank. This was the first ever syndicated loan of its kind for JICA in Africa. Its purpose being: (i) to support development of vaccine, medical and health infrastructure including equipment; (ii) to strengthen Africa’s vaccine and health/medical equipment logistics capacity; and (iii) to support Afreximbank’s pandemic financing programme ("PATIMFA") in highly impacted sectors and to assist a post Covid-19 recovery in the Africa region.
  • Acting for a syndicate of 24 banks led by Standard Chartered Bank in relation to a dual-currency, dual-tranche up to USD 1.2 billion term loan facility agreement to African Export-Import Bank.
  • Acting for a syndicate of 23 banks led by Bank of America Europe DAC and Standard Chartered Bank as Sustainability Coordinators and Commerzbank as Facility Agent in relation to a USD 600 million sustainability-linked term loan facility agreement for Investec Bank Limited of South Africa, the first ever sustainability-linked syndicated loan signed by Investec Bank Limited.
  • Acting for African Export-Import Bank in relation to a USD 700 million facility agreement provided to the Central Bank of Tunisia to support intra-African trade finance.
  • Acting for BNP Paribas Fortis in relation to two CESCE covered facility agreements amounting to circa. EUR 213,882,540 provided OCP SA in Morocco to support in import of equipment from Spain.
  • Acting for Société Générale, BNP Paribas and Black Sea Trade and Development Bank in relation to a SERV covered facility agreement and to related loans amounting to circa. EUR 318 million to the Istanbul Metropolitan Authority to support a waste to energy project (awarded as a "Deal of the Year” in Global Trade Review's Awards 2020 and "Environmental Enhancement ECA-backed Deal of the Year" at the TXF awards 2020).
  • Acting for Crédit Agricole, Standard Chartered Bank, MUFG Bank Limited and UKEF (the ECA of the United Kingdom) with respect to three facilities amounting to an aggregate amount of circa USD 655 million financing to the Ministry of Finance of Oman in order to finance the export of equipment required to construct three hospitals in Oman (awarded as a "Deal of the Year” in Global Trade Review's Awards 2020)
  • Acting for BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Industriel et Commercial and ING in relation to a circa. USD 470 million SACE-covered loan facility agreement to The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company to support the import of equipment from General Electric and Orascom to complete the conversion two power stations (Assuit and West Damietta) guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance of Egypt (awarded "Deal of the Year – EMEA Export Finance: Power” in Euromoney's Trade Finance Awards 2017).
  • Acting for a syndicate of 34 lenders led by Commerzbank AG in relation to a dual-currency, dual-tranche EUR 406.5 million and USD 458 million term loan facility agreement to African Export-Import Bank (For their role as legal counsel on this matter, Baker McKenzie were awarded "Banking, Finance & Restructuring Team of the Year" at The African Legal Awards 2015).
  • Acting as lead counsel to the creditors' Steering Committee (including commercial lenders, trade finance banks, Export Credit Agencies and bondholders) of BTA Bank in Kazakhstan in relation to the USD 16.7 billion restructuring of its financial indebtedness – the largest ever financial restructuring in the CIS (Euromoney 2010, "Central and Eastern European Deal of the Year").
  • Acting as lead counsel to the international creditors' Steering Committee of First Ukrainian International Bank in relation to the restructuring of its financial indebtedness; the first ever successful restructuring of the international debt of a Ukrainian bank.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Law Society of England & Wales - Member
  • Paris Bar Association - Member
  • Law Society of Ireland - Member
  • International Chamber of Commerce - Member


  • Paris~France (2019)
  • Republic of Ireland (2019)
  • England & Wales~United Kingdom (1995)


  • College of Law at Guildford (L.S.F.) (1993)
  • College of Law at Guildford (C.P.E.) (1992)
  • American School of Classical Studies (Athens) (R.M.) (1991)
  • University of Pennsylvania (B.A.) (1990)
  • University of Pennsylvania (M.A.) (1990)


  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek

Previous Offices

  • Munich
  • London