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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.

Money Laundering and Lawyers’ Obligations After the Panama Papers

As Co-Chair of the Middle East Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, MassPoint's Hdeel Abdelhady organized and will moderate a program on lawyers' obligations to detect and report illicit client activity, in particular money laundering. Lawyers in the EU, for example, have been required for years to perform client due diligence and file suspicious activity reports (SARs) in accordance EU anti-money laundering directives. U.S. lawyers have no parallel obligations; however, U.S. lawyers are prohibited by rules of professional conduct from knowingly allowing their services to be used for unlawful purposes. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has described the inapplicability to U.S. lawyers of customer due diligence (CDD) and SAR filing requirements as a weak spot in the U.S. anti-money laundering framework. Members of Congress have introduced legislation to apply such obligations to U.S. lawyers, and to require U.S. lawyers to collect and share with law enforcement authorities beneficial ownership information where lawyers directly form companies, trusts, and certain other entities for clients.
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Hdeel Abdelhady Appointed ABA Liaison to Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts)

Hdeel Abdelhady has been appointed to serve as the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law’s Liaison to the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts). Ms. Abdelhady, who is MassPoint’s Founder and Principal, has lived and worked in Dubai and previously worked in the DIFC and collaborated with DIFC entities. Ms. Abdelhady currently serves as a Co-Chair of the ABA Section of International Law’s Middle East Committee, which she has led for three years as a Co-Chair. She also serves on the Board of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative’s Middle East and North Africa Council and as the ABA Section of International Law’s Liaison to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
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Identifying UAE “Foreign Officials” for Anti-Corruption Compliance Purposes

Companies and other organizations doing business in the UAE or with enterprises owned in part by a UAE Government party at any level (e.g., the federal/union government or a government of one of the country's constituent emirates (e.g., Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah), or entities owned in part by any of them, should be aware that under UAE law, the definition of "public official" (i.e., a government official) includes employees and directors of enterprises in which a UAE Government party holds less than a majority ownership stake and does not, formally or effectively, exercise control.
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Senate Bill to Combat ISIS Targets “Jurisdictions of Terrorism Financing Concern”

On February 13, 2017, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced in the Senate the “Stop Terrorist Operational Resources and Money Act” (the “STORM Act”). The purpose of the STORM Act is to “establish a designation for jurisdictions permissive to terrorism financing, to build the capacity of partner nations to investigate, prosecute, and hold accountable terrorist financiers, to impose restrictions on foreign financial institutions that provide financial services for terrorist organizations, and for other purposes.” The STORM Act would permit the President to designate a country as a “Jurisdiction of Terrorism Financing Concern” upon determining that “government officials know, or should know, that activities are taking place within the country that substantially finance the operations of, or acts of international terrorism by, foreign terrorist organizations.”
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Trump’s Foreign Policy May Further Strain Foreign Correspondent Banking (Derisking)

The Trump Administration's positions on countering the financing of terrorism were articulated by Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin during his confirmation hearings, where he expressed his commitment to working unilaterally and multilaterally to combat terrorism financing (see, for example, hearing segment starting at 55:18). The Administration's interest in strengthening CFT is shared on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, where the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services recently released the results of a 2-year investigation of terrorism financing and, among other measures, recommended that the United States adopt a "whole-of-government" strategy to combat terrorism financing.
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Public Hearing: Chinese Investment in the United States: Impacts and Issues for Policymakers

On January 26, 2017, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission will hold a public hearing on Chinese Investment in the United States: Impacts and Issues for Policymakers. This hearing follows the Commission's November 2016 Annual Report to Congress, in which the Commission recommended, among other things, a bar on investment in the United States by Chinese state-owned enterprises (for background, see MassPoint's November 2016 Business Update, Proposals to Curb Foreign Investment in the United States Gaining Steam After the Election and MassPoint's April 2016 Business Update, Foreign Investment in U.S. Agriculture Under Scrutiny).
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Proposals to Curb Foreign Investment in the United States Gain Steam After Election

Acquisitions of U.S. businesses by SOEs, particularly Chinese SOEs, have been a key focus of concern about foreign investment in the United States. Chinese and other SOEs would be well-advised to acquaint themselves with the gathering focus in Washington on their U.S. investments, commercial activities (post-acquisition), and sovereign immunity under U.S. law and in U.S. litigation—non-Chinese SOEs should not assume that they will not be subjected to the same or similar scrutiny. At minimum, SOEs—Chinese and non-Chinese—may be well-served by understanding the origins of some Trump transition team (and later administration) proposals and/or their linkages to prior proposals. Privately-owned foreign enterprises should also take note, as sentiments about foreign investment in the United States may also directly or indirectly affect their planned or future investments (including, perhaps, favorably, if SOEs are (to an extent) taken out of competition for U.S. assets as a result of legal, policy, or political measures adopted in the United States).
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Hdeel Abdelhady Quoted on U.S. Election Impact on Foreign Investment

Hdeel Abdelhady was quoted in Islamic Finance News, on the potential impact of the U.S. Election outcome on Islamic finance and investment in the United States. She said: “Trump’s rhetoric and proposals — such as the ‘Muslim ban’ (which is legally problematic and impracticable) and other politically opportunistic invocations of Islam and Muslims — would likely carry over and create an inhospitable environment for Islamic finance, including because Trump’s candidacy appears to have normalized, in some quarters, anti-Muslim, anti-‘other’ speech and conduct . . . even if Trump — a self-styled ‘dealmaker’ — were inclined to support wholly or partially Islamic investments in the US (such as the CityCenterDC mixed use development located less than a mile from both Trump’s recently opened DC hotel and the address to which he aspires, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue), the atmosphere and supporters he has cultivated as a candidate would likely be impediments.”
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