Samir Safar-Aly

Associate, Dubai

Biography

Overview

Samir is an associate in the Global Financial Services Regulatory practice, based in our Dubai office. He focuses on financial services regulation, FinTech and white-collar / financial crime for the GCC and wider MENA region (covering advisory, contentious / investigations, and public policy).

Samir provides guidance on the cross-border marketing of financial services and products, conduct issues, and regulatory license applications across the entire GCC and wider MENA region. He regularly advises the world's leading financial institutions, asset managers, technology companies, payment services providers, as well as FinTech start-ups (having previously mentored at the DIFC FinTech Hive). His regulatory expertise also extends to investment banking, cryptocurrencies and payment tokens, crypto-exchanges, corporate governance, and sustainability finance.

Samir's expertise includes UAE, Saudi Arabia and wider international anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT) rules, anti-bribery and corruption laws (covering the GCC, UK and U.S.) and other areas of white-collar and financial crime. He also advises governments across the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere in Asia on public policy and legal and regulatory reform (across both financial services regulation and financial crime).

Samir has particular expertise in financial and economic sanctions and regularly provides guidance on UN, U.S. (OFAC), UK (OFSI), EU and GCC sanctions regimes across a wide range of sectors, from financial services to energy and oil & gas. He has previous worked on several high profile international mandates.

Samir also holds a Certificate of Anti-Bribery and Corruption Studies from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), with training from the City of London Police Economic Crime Academy, and has also received training on financial crime from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshals Service. He is also an Associate Member (ASCI) of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI).

At UC Berkeley, Samir was the Senior Symposium and Articles Editor for the UC Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern & Islamic Law. He was also the President of the Critical Lawyers Group at the University of Kent. Samir continues to commit time to the development of knowledge and learning having previously guest lectured for the University of Dubai College of Law on financial crime, having designed and delivered the first ever "Certificate in Financial Crime and Compliance" for the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Academy of Law, and having put together the first financial services regulatory course (entitled "An Introduction to Financial Services Regulation in the UAE") for the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, as part of their Continuing Legal Professional Development (CLPD) program.

Before joining White & Case, Samir worked in the Dubai office of a leading international law firm, and has experience working in Riyadh, London, Tokyo, Beijing, Cairo, Luxembourg, and Nairobi.

Bars and Courts
England and Wales
Education
Diplôme Universitaire, International Nuclear Law
University of Montpellier
LLM
University of California, Berkeley School of Law
LLB
University of Kent

School of Law, UK

International Business Transactions with Chinese Characteristics Program
Suzhou University

Kenneth Wang School of Law, China

Islamic Finance Programe
Durham University
American University in Cairo

Summer School Program (International Energy and Trade), Egypt (in collaboration with Seton Hall School of Law, USA)

Political Philosophy
Harvard University

Summer School Program

Languages
English
Arabic
Farsi

Experience

  • Advising various international investment banks and asset managers on private placement rules across each jurisdiction within the GCC
  • Advising a major Japanese bank on ADGM regulatory enquiries
  • Advising various major international companies on payment services, payment systems and stored value facility regulations in the UAE
  • Advising an international bank on major regulatory developments to the Saudi CMA's regulatory framework
  • Advising a European bank on Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) licensing requirements
  • Advising several financial institutions and asset managers on regulatory investigations across the UAE and Saudi Arabia
  • Leading several government advisory projects related reform projects, including:
    • The Government of Kenya, through the Kenyan National Treasury on legal, regulatory and tax reform to enable the development of Islamic finance, as well as drafting the founding legislation for the Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC)
    • the Government of Indonesia on the legal and regulatory aspects for a 10-year masterplan to develop its financial sector
    • the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) on its promotion and introduction regulations
    • the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) on the development of its trading rules
  • Advising national oil companies in Asia and Europe on anti-bribery and corruption considerations across the Middle East, including the development of various policies and processes from a local law, UK Bribery Act and U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA) perspective
  • Advising several Japanese conglomerates, financial institutions and insurance companies on various OFAC and EU sanctions related considerations relevant to various jurisdictions across the Middle East
  • Advising several international oil companies on sanctions considerations under various UN Security Council programs
  • Attending the Eight Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption (CoSP-UNCAC) organised by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and presenting to various public prosecutors on UAE AML and CFT laws
  • Advising on several issues relevant to the Abraham Accords
Publications

Nuclear Decommissioning Funds: the Case for Further Regulation in the Interests of Environmental Protection, International Energy Law Review (IELR), July 2021

Quoted in 'Is there a future for cryptocurrencies in GCC states?', Zawya, October 2020

Cultivating Green Sukuk, Emirates Law, December 2018

Crypto-currencies: A UAE Perspective, Emirates Law, April 2018

Fighting bribery and corruption, Emirates Law, August 2017

Anti-Bribery Laws in the United Arab Emirates, TRACE International, August 2016

Laying Down Roots: Asset Management in the UAE, Emirates Law, July 2016

Qatar: Anti-Bribery Compliance Considerations, TRACE International, September 2015

Green Sukuk: The Introduction of Islam's Environmental Ethics to Contemporary Islamic Finance, Georgetown International Environmental Law Review (GIELR), August 2015

Islamic conscious capitalism: a 'Third Way' in light of classical scripture, International Review of Economics, March 2016