Samir is an English qualified Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales and a registered Legal Adviser with the Dubai Government Legal Affairs Department. He is a counsel in the Firm’s Financial Regulatory and Investigations, Compliance & Ethics (IC&E) practices based in Dubai as well as FinTech and AI lead in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with ten years’ experience in the region.
Samir advises a number of international financial institutions, asset managers, VC and PE funds, and family offices (based in the U.S., Europe, China, Japan and the Middle East) on financial services regulation (with a focus on the GCC, wider MENA region, Asia and Africa), having extensive experience in liaising with the region’s regulators. His experience covers the full range of conduct issues, licensing requirements, and financial services and products, including the cross-border marketing of investment banking and corporate finance services, wealth management activities, investment funds, securities and investment banking services, as well as cryptocurrencies, virtual assets, AI and FinTech-related matters generally. His experience includes advising on socially-responsible investment (SRI), shareholder activism, and environmental financing issues.
FinTech & AI
With qualifications in both law and coding, as the MENA FinTech and AI Lead, Samir has advised on a number of global and regional virtual assets, payment services, robo-advisory, crowdfunding, tokenization, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), AI application within financial services and AI ethics, DAOs, NFTs, Web3 governance issues, cybersecurity, and data protection issues, and has drafted regulation in this area for a number of regulators. He has mentored a number of start-ups (including within accelator programs such as the DIFC FinTech Hive and Hub71), BigTech, VC and PE Funds, angel investors, as well as financial institutions. He has written extensively in this area, is a regular public speaker on key issues on FinTech & AI, and has advised on regulatory sandbox applications, as well as on DIFC, ADGM, SCA, Saudi CMA, SAMA, Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), and Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) regulations.
Financial Crime and Sanctions
Samir's experience includes UAE, Saudi and wider international anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) rules, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidance, anti-bribery and corruption laws (covering the GCC, UK and U.S.) and other areas of white-collar and financial crime. Samir has particular experience in financial and economic sanctions and regularly provides guidance on UN, U.S. (OFAC), UK (OFSI), EU and GCC sanctions regimes and export-control issues across a wide range of sectors. He has spoken at a number of public engagements on sanctions-related compliance issues and has provided sanctions training to clients in Dubai, London and Tokyo. He has received financial crime training from the City of London Police and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Samir's experience also includes representing clients on contentious regulatory matters and investigations across the Middle East, a on issues ranging from financial regulatory conduct, sanctions, anti-bribery and corruption, sanctions, and AML issues. He has represented clients on DFSA, SCA, Saudi CMA investigations, in addition to U.S. Department of Justice reviews.
Government Advisory / Public Policy
Samir has played a leading role in many key government advisory projects in the areas of legal and regulatory reform and strategy, including on a number of national economic blueprint plans. This includes advising the Governments of Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan,the UAE and Saudi Arabia, on AML, asset recovery, financial regulation, FinTech, trading rules, public private partnership arrangements, strategic MOUs, financial centre set-up and training.
Finally, Samir has worked on the compliance and governance aspects on a range of other subject matters, from key tech infrastructure and energy projects (including working with some of the regional space agencies on satellite projects) to the UAE's nuclear regulatory framework.
Representative Legal Matters
- Advising a number of global financial institutions and asset managers on:
- marketing guidance for various financial products and services across the Middle East and other Emerging Markets;
- various compliance related issues, including change of control, client classification, regulatory filings, product documentation, and conduct of business;
- license establishment requirements, including license upgrades, in the UAE, DIFC, ADGM and Saudi Arabia; and
- exchange trading and listing rules across the GCC.
- Advising a number of governments and regulatory authorities on legal and regulatory reform, including:
- the National Treasury of Kenya on its full-scale legal reform to enable Islamic Finance (covering central bank to microfinance regulations), and on the drafting of the Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC) bill;
- the Government of Indonesia on its 10-year Islamic finance masterplan;
- advising a GCC-based central bank on fits forthcoming Payment Services Regulations;
- the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) on its regulations;
- Ministry of Finance in Uzbekistan on securities law reform; and
- several UAE and Saudi Arabia-based authorities.
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Law Society of England and Wales - Member
- Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) - Associate Member
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb) - Member
- MENA FinTech Association - Member
- England & Wales~United Kingdom (2013)
- Dubai - Registered Legal Consultant
- King’s College London, The Dickson Poon School of Law (Cryptography, Blockchain & Smart Contracts, Data Science & AI) (2023)
- European Centre for Space Law (ECSL), European Space Agency (ESA) (Executive Course on Space Law and Regulations) (2023)
- McGill University, Faculty of Law, Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (8th McGill Annual Strategic Space Law Course (International Space Law, AstroPolitics, Cybersecurity, Military Law)) (2022)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cryptocurrency Program) (2022)
- UN PRI (Principles of Responsible Investment) Academy (Understanding Responsible Investment) (2022)
- City of London Police Economic & Cyber Crime Academy (Investigating Money Laundering) (2022)
- Sotheby’s Institute of Art (SAI) (Art and Technology: From AI to NFTs) (2022)
- United Nations (UNITAR) (UN Young Leaders Training Programme) (2022)
- University of Montpellier (Diplôme Universitaire in International Nuclear Law (Très Bien)) (2020)
- University of Montpellier (International School of Nuclear Law) (2018)
- Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting in collaboration with the City of London Police Economic Crime Academy (Certificate in Anti-Bribery and Corruption Studies) (2017)
- University of California, Berkeley (LLM with specialization certificates in Business Law and Energy Law,, magna cum laude equivalent) (2011)
- University of Kent at Canterbury (LLB (Hons), Judge Rooke Prize) (2008)
- Durham University (Islamic Finance Summer School) (2008)
- Suzhou University (Exchange Program International Business Law) (2008)
- American University in Cairo (Exchange Program Islamic Jurisprudence and Oil & Gas Law) (2007)
- Harvard University (Exchange Program Political Philosophy) (2006)