Claire A. DeLelle

Partner, Washington, DC



Claire is a litigator who focuses on high-stakes, complex international disputes in US courts. She represents foreign sovereigns and their agencies and instrumentalities, including central banking authorities, and multinational companies and financial institutions in litigations arising under a variety of laws, including the US antitrust laws, the US anti-terrorism laws, and the US economic sanctions laws. She has extensive US litigation experience representing clients under the so-called "terrorism exception" to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. She has litigated these issues before US federal courts at all levels, including a recent win before the US Supreme Court.

Claire also leads a robust economic sanctions practice, in which she conducts global investigations in connection with voluntary self-disclosures to Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), subpoenas, and requests for information. Claire routinely advises clients in the technology industry, such as e-commerce retailers, digital assets companies, co-location data centers, and social media companies. She has also worked on cutting-edge issues involving payments processors, crypto currency, and NFTs. She has in-depth experience conducting investigations and litigating matters for clients in the Middle East and Africa, including in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Sudan, and Libya.

Claire has been identified in Legal 500 as a Next Generation Partner in White & Case's International Litigation practice and a Leading Litigator in America by Lawdragon 500 in their 2023 and 2024 guides. She is also the Hiring Partner for the Firm's DC Office.

Bars and Courts
District of Columbia
New York
U.S. District Court for the District of Washington DC
US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
US District Court for the Western District of New York
US District Court for the District of Maryland
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
US Supreme Court
Washington College of Law, American University
LLB (Hons)
University of Aberdeen


US Litigation on behalf of Foreign Sovereigns and State-Owned Entities, International Institutions, and Multinationals:

Successfully obtained vacatur of multi-million dollar default judgments in Republic of Sudan v. Harrison, 139 S. Ct. 1048 (2019).

Obtained dismissal of the Kingdom of Sweden and the National Museums of World Culture from an alleged expropriation action brought in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Obtained dismissal of federal RICO action against the Sweden Tax Authority and the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and their Director General brought in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Successfully obtained vacatur of multi-billion dollars in damages awarded against a foreign sovereign where sovereign did not appear to defend numerous actions alleging the provision of material support or resources to terrorist organizations.

Defending central banking authority in US federal litigation brought under the so-called "commercial activity" exception to foreign sovereign immunity.

Successful defense of foreign sovereign in multi-billion-dollar US litigation involving claims that foreign sovereign materially sponsored terrorist attacks. Negotiated historic bilateral agreement with the United States resolving such litigation.

Obtained order on behalf of Indonesian state-owned bank vacating multi-million dollar writs of attachment against several US correspondent banks within weeks of being retained by the bank.

Obtained the dismissal of contract and tort claims against foreign sovereign in Anglo-Iberia Underwriting Insurance Company v. PT Jamsostek in the Southern District of New York; affirmed by the Second Circuit.

Obtained the dismissal of multi-million-dollar counterclaims against client in International Finance Corporation v. Carrera Holdings, Inc. in the New York Supreme Court, Commercial Division; affirmed by the First Department, Appellate Division.

Obtained summary judgment in favor of foreign sovereign in 4 Third Avenue Leasehold, LLC v. Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates in the Southern District of New York; affirmed in part by the Second Circuit (argued).

Obtained dismissal of complaint in Carrasco v. United Arab Emirates in the District of Arizona (argued); affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.

Represented foreign banking authority in moving to vacate New York restraining notice concerning multi-million in frozen wire transfer transactions.

Advising a number of foreign sovereign governments and their agencies, instrumentalities and officials on issues arising under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, act of state doctrine, and Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

US Civil and Criminal Antitrust Matters:

Successfully represented start-up technology company in federal antitrust action against an alleged unlawful monopolist that engaged in exclusionary conduct, predatory pricing, and other anticompetitive conduct.

Represented individual subjects of criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, for alleged price-fixing.

Represented Ian Norris, former CEO of UK-headquartered company Morgan Crucible, extradited to the United States, in criminal jury trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Represented pharmaceutical companies in alleged violations of Section 2 (monopoly claims under so-called "product-hopping" theories) and Section 1 of the Sherman Act (alleged restraint-of-trade claims).

US Economic Sanctions Investigations and Advice:

Conducted global investigation for multinational ecommerce company under numerous US sanctions programs and the export controls laws. Routinely engaged with OFAC officials.

Conducted investigations of alleged violations of the Iran and Syria sanctions laws and regulations for clients based in the Middle East.

Routinely advising clients in numerous industry sectors on US sanctions compliance issues including under the Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Counter Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Transnational Criminal Organizations programs.

Obtained unblocking decision from OFAC for funds frozen under US sanctions program.

Cross – Border Insolvency and Restructuring Matters:

Provided US litigation risk advice in connection with the restructuring of Wind Hellas, one of Greece's largest mobile phone operators, in the UK's largest ever pre-pack administration.

Represented liquidators of hedge fund in various US actions, including securities fraud actions, in context of cross-border litigation centered in the Channel Islands.

Represented a Saudi partnership in civil litigation in the Central District of California seeking to recover the proceeds of a $10 billion fraud; successfully argued motion to dismiss counterclaim alleged under Bahrain law.

Speaking Engagements

Presenter, "Sanctions in Action – Lessons Learned and Best Practices Shared," May 17, 2022, Momentum Events 15th National Anti-Corruption, Export Controls, and Sanctions (A.C.E.S) Compliance Summit, Washington, DC

Presenter, "Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt – what you need to know about liabilities of the state and recent developments," February 4, 2020, White & Case Roundtable, London

Presenter, "Ancillary US Proceedings: Chapter 15 and 28 U.S.C. § 1782," hosted by Kleyr Grasso Associes, Luxembourg

Presenter, "How to Avoid an All-Expenses-Paid Holiday to the Western District of Texas," sponsored by the Jersey Law Institute, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands


Author, "Key Sanctions Issues in Civil Litigation and Arbitration," July 2022, GIR's Guide to Sanctions – Third Edition

Author, "Key Sanctions Issues in Civil Litigation and Arbitration," July 2021, GIR's Guide to Sanctions – Second Edition

Author, "Nestlé & Cargill v. Doe Series: American Courts Do Not Have Universal Jurisdiction Over All Wrongs Everywhere", November 2020, Just Security

Author, "Key Sanctions Issues in Civil Litigation and Arbitration," August 2020, GIR's Guide to Sanctions – First Edition

Author, "US Appeals Court Upholds Bondholder's Discovery of Argentina's Foreign Assets," Client Alert

Author, "The long arm of US import-export laws," Insurance Day

Awards and Recognition

Best Lawyers in America 2024 - Commercial Litigation

Leading Litigator in America, Lawdragon 500, 2023 & 2024

Next Generation Partner: The Legal 500: International Litigation, 2021-2022

Mention, The Legal 500: International Trade, 2021-2022

Noted, The Legal 500: International Litigation, 2020

"Under 40 Hot List", Benchmark Litigation, 2016