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Hdeel Abdelhady
Principal Attorney
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Hdeel Abdelhady brings to the table a unique blend of transactional and regulatory/compliance skills honed in independent and large firm practice, and as in-house  secondment counsel to U.S. and foreign banks. Noted for her commitment to clients, Hdeel works to understand clients’ business and goals, and takes a strategic, commercially-aware approach to her representation of clients.

Hdeel has acted as lead transactional and regulatory counsel to U.S. and foreign banks, sovereign entities, companies and nonprofits. On their behalf, Hdeel has negotiated, drafted and executed conventional and Islamic finance, corporate, and commercial transactions; advised U.S. and foreign banks, money services businesses, companies, and non-profits on sanctions, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, and counter-terrorism financing matters, including providing client training and drafting compliance programs; and structured and advised on bespoke investments and transactions combining multiple objectives and legal systems. In addition, Hdeel has represented U.S. and foreign companies in disputes opposite sovereigns and private parties. Her matters have involved the United States, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Having handled transactions, compliance matters and disputes, Hdeel understands how transactions are put together, and why they fall apart. She is well-positioned to identify and manage legal and related risk.

Hdeel has since 2004 served as a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School, where she currently teaches Regulation of Foreign Access to U.S. Technology and Transactional Islamic Law. She has also taught an American legal skills course for international graduate students from around the world. Hdeel has published extensively. In addition to her MassPoint publications, Hdeel’s writings have been published in, among other publications, the World Bank Legal Review, Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, the Sustainable Law and Development Journal, Law360, Reuters, and Ahram Online. 

Representative Experience

Transactions

  • Created unique framework for agricultural/food security investment combining conventional asset management standards and Islamic transactional frameworks on behalf of a government entity.
  • Developed endowment structure, on behalf of a Middle East-based NGO backed by the UAE government and a multilateral development bank, combining Islamic waqf and common law trust structures with legal and governance elements comporting with Shari’ah and civil law requirements, including anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing compliance.
  • Advised bank on lease financing documentation and best practices and drafted suite of lease financing documentation for use in transactions amenable to standardization.

Export Controls/Technology Regulation/U.S.-China Tech War

  • Advise U.S. and foreign companies on U.S. export controls and related measures as applicable (e.g., sanctions).
  • Advise U.S. and foreign parties on existing and emerging U.S. laws and regulations applicable to technology transfer, investment, and commerce with cross-border elements, including foreign investment in the United States (CFIUS/FIRRMA), export controls, sanctions, research-related regulations. 
  • Counseled university compliance personnel on emerging U.S. laws, regulations, and policies restricting foreign participation in certain STEM research and related policy issues around “academic espionage” and U.S.-China developments around emerging technologies.
  • Developed and teach one-of-a-kind law school course on the regulation of foreign access to U.S. technology.

Sanctions Counseling and Compliance

  • Advise U.S. and foreign financial services providers, sovereign-affiliated entities, companies, and individuals on compliance with U.S. sanctions, including Ukraine-related Sectoral Sanctions on Russia, Iranian Transactions and Assets Control Sanctions, Venezuela Sanctions, Global Magnitsky Sanctions, Sudan Sanctions, and Rough Diamond Trade Controls.
  • Advise U.S. persons on transactions and transfers related to inherited property pursuant to OFAC-administered Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).
  • Advise on and draft OFAC license applications.
  • Advise on extraterritorial jurisdiction and effects of U.S. unilateral sanctions as to non-U.S. persons and transactions.

Banking Regulation and Compliance/AML/CFT

  • Advise foreign entities on establishment of foreign banking organizations in the United States and related regulatory requirements at the federal and state levels.
  • Advised on the establishment of state- and federal-chartered banks.
  • Advised prospective bank incorporator/principals on non-bank structures/entities available under U.S. law to conduct international banking.
  • Advised U.S. and foreign banks and prospective banking market entrants on AML, CFT, and related domestic and international standards applicable to international and correspondent banking. 
  • Represented entity in early stages of establishing a money services business in the District of Columbia.
  • Drafted AML, CFT, sanctions, and anti-corruption (including FCPA) compliance programs for U.S. and foreign entities, some including safeguards rules  applicable to “financial institutions” (FTC).

Nonprofit Board Service/Pro Bono

  • Served on the board of directors of a Gates Foundation-supported Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization engaged in human, civil, and women’s rights advocacy and legal scholarship; advised entity on contractual and governance matters and drafted strategic development plan ratified by the board.
  • Served as a special advisor to the board of directors of a Washington, D.C. nonprofit organization engaged in rule of law advocacy and advised the organization on the establishment and maintenance of its tax-exempt  status and governance.
  • Represented a Washington, D.C. church in a mortgage refinancing transaction opposite a DC Metro Area bank.
What Clients Have Said

“Hdeel Abdelhady’s standard of work and attention to detail are excellent, resulting in consistent output of very high quality.”

-Senior Counsel, Global Bank


“Hdeel Abdelhady developed a good working relationship with the team in a short period of time which resulted in an open dialogue and free flow of ideas.”

-Senior In-House Counsel, Europe-Based Global Bank


“Hdeel Abdelhady displays an obvious affinity for her clients.”

-Head of Legal, International Bank 

Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • State of Maryland
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Appointments & Honors

Current Appointments 

  • Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School (courses: Transactional Islamic Law and Regulation of Foreign Access to U.S. Technology)
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Member, Board of Directors, Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) Washington DC Chapter

Recent Honors 

  • MassPoint PLLC, Corporate Law Firm of the Year, USA, Finance Monthly Global Awards
  • Corporate: M&A and Governance, Who’s Who Legal 2016 

Previous Appointments 

  • Liaison to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), American Bar Association Section of International Law
  • Member, World Bank Insolvency and Creditor/Debtor Regimes Task Force
  • Co-Chair, ABA Middle East Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association Task Force on Gatekeeper Regulation and the Profession
  • Liaison to the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, American Bar Association Section of International Law (2017-2018)
  • Member, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) Middle East and North Africa Council
Education

JD, The George Washington University Law School (2002)

Activities and Awards

  • Member, Moot Court Executive Board
  • Chairwoman, Van Vleck Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
  • “Best Overall Competitor” and “Best Oralist” awards, Van Vleck Constitutional Law Moot Court competition
  • Class of 2002 Clinics Volunteer Service Award
  • President, Street Law Student Association
  • Law Clerk, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
  • Judicial Intern, Superior Court of the District of Columbia

BA; Political Science, History (Middle East and Africa), University of Pittsburgh (1997) 

News

News Quotes, Appearances, Articles

npr
msnbc
reuters
ahram
law360
us news
jd supra
ahram online
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Speaking Engagements & Publications

Select Speaking Engagements Sanctions, Trade, and Export Controls Foreign Investment in the United States Critical Resources Law & Strategy (Minerals, Metals, Agriculture) Governance, Business Conduct, ESG Anti-Money Laundering/Banking/Correspondent Banking Anti-Corruption (Politically Exposed Persons and State-Owned Enterprises) Global Magnitsky Sanctions/Global Magnitsky Act Islamic Banking, Finance & Philanthropy International Law & Business, Rule of Law, Misc.
  • World Bank Group Can be Sued for “Commercial Activity” Says SCOTUS (Jam/IFC), MassPoint PLLC, March 2019.
  • ISIS’ Islamic Stagecraft,” Ahram Weekly, October 2017 (or read the reader-friendly PDF here).
  • Editor, 2015 Middle East Legal Developments in Review (Advance Copy), American Bar Association Section of International Law Middle East Committee.
  • Harmonization of Global Sales Law, UNCITRAL Asia Pacific Incheon Spring Conferences, Incheon, South Korea, June 2015.
  • The CISG in Foreign Legal Systems (or not), Speaker, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law – Georgetown Law Global Sales Law Conference: The CISG at 35: Challenges Today, Washington, D.C., January 2o15.
  • Egypt’s New Investment Law Misses the Mark, Ahram Online, June 4, 2014.
  • The Selective Piety of Egypt’s Islamists, Ahram Online, June 23, 2013.
  • The Real Revolution Underway in Egypt, Ahram Online, December 2012.
  • Rule of Law in Egypt; Challenges for Democracy, Moderator, Aspen Institute, Washington, D.C. 2011, September 22, 2011.
  • Pillars of a Modern and Democratic Egyptian Constitution, Egypt Revolution Conference, Washington, D.C., October 21, 2011.
  • Egypt Needs a Mindset Revolution (to transition economically), Ahram Weekly, October 6, 2011.
  • Egypt’s Prosecutor General Must Advance the Rule of Law, Ahram Online July 25, 2011.
  • Partners for Change: Realizing the Potential of Arab Women in the Private and Public Sectors, Arab International Women’s Forum, World Bank, Washington, D.C., June 2008.
  • The Impact of Islam in the Constitution of Iraq, Public International Law & Policy Group Roundtable Series on Next Steps for Implementing the Iraq Constitution, Washington, D.C., January 2006.
  • The Impact of Islam in the Constitution of Iraq, Public International Law & Policy Group Roundtable Series on Next Steps for Implementing the Iraq Constitution, Washington, D.C., January 2006.
  • Issues in Federalism: Negotiation Simulation on the Formation of Regions in Iraq, Public International Law & Policy Group Roundtable Series on Next Steps for Implementing the Iraq Constitution, Washington, D.C., January 2006.
  • Investor-State Dispute Prevention: Egypt, Presentation for the International Finance Corporation, the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, and the Egyptian General Authority for Investment, Washington, D.C. 2013.
  • Go Global, Grow Local: Positioning the DC Metro Area to Tap the Global Aspiration Economy, The 2030 Group Blog 2012.
  • Montgomery County Today: Changing Community and Transformative Opportunity, Co-organizer and speaker (program on health sector growth) 2012.
  • Islamic Finance as a Mechanism for Bolstering Food Security in the Middle East: Food Security Waqf, Eighth International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance, Doha, Qatar 2011.
  • Middle East Economic Outlook, Interview with Chief Economist of the DIFC, Interviewer, ABA Islamic Finance Committee Podcast, DIFC (Dubai), UAE 2010.
  • China-Africa Trade and Investment: Is it a Two-Way Street?, Program Writer and Chair, Washington, D.C., 2007.
  • Foreign Direct Investment and Investment Dispute Settlement, International Dispute Resolution for the Washington, D.C. Diplomatic Community, Washington, D.C., June 2006.
  • Investment Risks in International Oil and Gas Contracts, Conference on Managing Risk in International Oil and Gas Contracts (under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum), Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Cairo, Egypt, May 2006; Conference on Managing Risk in International Oil and Gas Contracts (under the auspices of the Libyan National Oil Company), Tripoli, Libya, May 2006.

Sovereign Commercial Enterprises: Anti-Corruption and Confidentiality Risks

State-owned enterprises (SOEs, including sovereign wealth funds) are prominent players in international business. Given their ownership, SOEs have garnered scrutiny for their lack of transparency and heightened anti-corruption and anti-money laundering risk, as have individual SOE executives and other personnel who qualify as Politically Exposed Persons. In connection with commercial activities, SOEs are not protected in most cases by sovereign immunity. Thus, SOEs can, like their privately-owned counterparts, be subject to foreign legal processes. Given the greater scrutiny around SOEs and some of the high profile enforcement actions involving them directly or indirectly (for example, the 1MDB case), anti-corruption and other compliance, as well as good governance and risk management, are essential to avoid legal, commercial, and reputational risk and loss.
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Dana Gas Sukuk Governing Law and Jurisdiction

This post discusses these issues in Dana Gas sukuk matter and offers some observations and lessons that can be drawn from the governing law and forum selection questions raised by the Dana Gas sukuk matter. As this post entails post hoc discussion of the Dana Gas sukuk offering based on publicly available information, there is an element (or more) of Monday morning quarterbacking, and this should be borne in mind. Nevertheless, the general observations and potential lessons—which are not unique to the Dana Gas sukuk or Islamic transactions—should be read for their generality.
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Dana Gas Deems its Own Sukuk Unlawful: Parsing the Dana Gas Statement

Dana Gas PJSC, the Sharjah, UAE-based gas producer, has unilaterally declared “unlawful” sukuk[2] instruments issued by the company in 2013 [3] (through, as issuer, Dana Gas Sukuk Limited, a Jersey public company with limited liability). This post discusses some of the Shari’ah, UAE law, and factual issues triggered by the Dana Gas statement on the unlawfulness of its sukuk.
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Dana Gas Declares its Own Sukuk “Unlawful”: Revisiting The Investment Dar Case

Dana Gas’ move to halt its obligations under the sukuk terms on the grounds that the instruments are unlawful under Islamic law triggers many issues for discussion, including: (1) the legal and tactical soundness of its actions, (2) implications for the sukuk market and Islamic finance generally, and (3) the real and perceived quality of Shari’ah governance (both with respect to the sukuk at issue and sukuk and Islamic finance generally). This is not the first time that an Islamic instrument has been deemed unlawful by the originating party in an effort to avoid payment obligations. Years ago, an Islamic financial institution,The Investment Dar, asserted in an English court that a wakalah investment product that it offered and managed was not Shari’ah compliant and therefore unenforceable.
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Basel Committee Clarifies Guidance on Countering Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in Correspondent Banking

With respect to foreign correspondent banking, the Guidelines’ clarifications are designed to respond to the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships (derisking) that have adversely affected banks and, in some cases, entire regions. Accordingly, Annex 2 of the Guidelines includes a list of risk factors that “correspondent banks should consider in their risk assessment of money laundering and financing of terrorism associated with correspondent banking.”
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Abu Dhabi Global Market to Offer Foundation Vehicle

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial center and free zone located on Al Maryah Island in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, yesterday opened a public consultation on the ADGM’s proposed foundation regime (Consultation Paper No. 3 of 2017 and proposed Foundations Regulations 2017). The development is significant and positive, as the ADGM foundation, as proposed, would be the first-of-its kind in the UAE and particularly helpful for family businesses, philanthropy and wealth management in the UAE and the Middle East more broadly. The foundation model proposed is based on the civil law foundation, as it is an incorporated entity (with independent legal personality) with characteristics analogous to some features of the common law trust.
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U.S. Senators Raise National Security Concerns About Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate

On May 17, 2017, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH)—respectively ranking members of the Senate Finance; Homeland Security and Government Affairs; and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committees of the U.S. Senate—asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the approach taken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to foreign investment in U.S. real estate and to "assess whether and how CFIUS addresses the full range of national security challenges such transactions may pose." (The Senators' letter to the GAO is below). Specifically, the Senators have asked the GAO to examine a number of issues aimed at assessing the extent to which applicable regulations and the CFIUS process capture real estate transactions, the percentage of foreign acquisitions of U.S. real estate that have "filed" for CFIUS review, and the information and processes used by CFIUS to assess national security issues raised by foreign acquisitions of U.S. real estate.
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China’s One Belt One Road Could Disrupt U.S. Legal Dominance

The OBOR, even if partially successful, would, as many analysts and commentators have noted, alter the global trade landscape, if not “shake up” the global economic order in place since the end of World War II. Less discussed (except, for example, in this 2015 MassPoint Occasional Note) is one likely secondary effect of the OBOR and other trade and finance initiatives that are not centered on the U.S. dollar or the Bretton Woods system: the likely curtailment of the global reach of U.S. law.
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Congressional Hearing on Terrorism Financing Probes Bank Secrecy Act Data Effectiveness, Potential BSA Amendments

On April 27, 2017, I attended a Congressional hearing on “Safeguarding the Financial System from Terrorist Financing,” held by the House Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance (the “Subcommittee”). The sole witness was Mr. Jamal El-Hindi, Acting Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury charged with protecting the financial system from money laundering, terrorism financing and other illicit activities. The hearing’s purposes were to examine the methods and efficacy of FinCEN data collection, processing and information sharing and whether the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and USA PATRIOT Act should be amended to improve FinCEN’s anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) capacities and performance. In this brief MassPoint update, I highlight BSA data collection and usage numbers and some of the questions and issues that appeared to be of particular interest and/or concern to Congress members in attendance, taking into account the nature and frequency of the questions asked, the tone of questions, and related requests for additional or clarifying information from FinCEN.
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