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Cleary Makes Middle East Debut With Abu Dhabi Office Launch
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has secured its first presence in the Middle East with the launch of an office in Abu Dhabi.
The new office will be headed by partner Gamal Abouali, who has spent the past six years as a partner in Cleary's Paris base, before which he spent two years in the U.S. firm's New York headquarters.
Cleary's Middle East practice currently comprises around 20 partners and counsel spread across London, Paris, New York and Milan.
Recent work the firm has handled in the Middle East includes advising Wind Telecom and Orascom Telecom Holdings -- which is controlled by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris -- on its $21 billion (£13 billion) merger with VimpelCom, and French industrial company Lafarge on its $15 billion (£9.4 billion) acquisition of the cement business of Orascom Construction Industries.
Other clients the firm has in the region include the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Emirates Telecommunications Corp., and the Government of Jordan.
Cleary managing partner Mark Leddy said: "For several decades now we have represented both corporate and sovereign clients in many of the most important transactions in the Middle East and North Africa.
"The office continues our tradition of thoughtful and deliberate expansion into markets where we have developed significant business and see long-term growth prospects."
Despite a dip in activity in Abu Dhabi following the financial crisis, several firms have recently opened offices in the UAE's second largest city. Linklaters launched an office in July last year, in the wake of Wragge & Co's local launch in December 2010 and Bird & Bird in May 2011.