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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.

Russia Summit Could Spur Congressional Activism on Sanctions, Trade

The meeting in Helsinki between the U.S. and Russian presidents has (as presumably everyone knows) sparked strong reactions in the United States, particularly in response to the U.S. President's performance. Beyond the politics of the moment and its aftermath, the Helsinki meeting could have legal consequences, should Congress move to insert itself, beyond its standard law-making and oversight role, in sanctions and trade matters. And not just with respect to Russia. There are a number of ways that Congress can play a greater role in sanctions and trade. Such Congressional involvement, if it materializes, would likely be designed to constrain the President, such as by restricting his ability to lift, not impose or modify sanctions through Executive action.
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Personal Remittances and Proceeds of Inheritances from Iran After U.S. Withdrawal from Iran Deal

For U.S. persons seeking to engage in permitted noncommercial, personal remittance or inheritance-related transactions, the higher risk sensitivity of some third country (and U.S.-based) financial institutions may complicate (or thwart in some cases), legal transactions. In light of this, persons seeking to engage in such legal transactions in the post-U.S. JCPOA withdrawal environment should exercise extra care in initiating and executing legal transfers with third country financial institutions.
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United States Sanctions Malaysia Agent of Iranian Airline

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today sanctioned Malaysia-based Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd ("Mahan Travel") pursuant to Executive Order  13,224. Rather then information should be taken as a prompt to other travel agencies or vendors that directly or indirectly “act for or on behalf of Mahan Air” to disassociate from the airline. Such other travel agencies or vendors should, at minimum, review and understand today’s Mahan Travel action, assess their sanctions and related risk (legal, commercial, etc.) and take defensive compliance steps that are appropriate to their sanctions/legal exposure and commercial position. The broader takeaway from today’s OFAC action against Mahan Travel is that it reinforces the fact that U.S. sanctions and other laws are global in reach. Non-U.S. parties should take note of their potential exposure to U.S. sanctions or other legal enforcement actions.
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Canary in the Cobalt Mine: Glencore Corruption Probe May Not Be a One Off

The U.S. arm of Glencore, the global commodities trading and mining giant, has been served a subpoena by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to news accounts. The DOJ's subpoena reportedly seeks documents and information pertaining Glencore's business in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Venezuela to assess potential violations of U.S. anti-money laundering laws and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the principal U.S. law essentially prohibiting the bribery of foreign officials for business gain by U.S. companies and others subject to United States' jurisdiction (broadly construed and applied).The Glencore subpoena may not be a one-off and it should be viewed-- at least for risk assessment and compliance improvement purposes-- as potentially part of a larger U.S. strategy to proactively target corruption and, by extension, money laundering, in Africa and Africa's extractives industries. (The wider context is that the Trump Administration views U.S. anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and their enforcement as "tools of economic diplomacy", including to advance trade and other policy objectives).
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Global Magnitsky Regulations: U.S. Multinationals and Dual Citizens Have Heightened Sanctions Exposure

U.S. multinational companies/entities as well as dual citizens/nationals should understand their heightened sanctions exposure under the Global Magnitsky Act, EO 13,818 and the GloMag Regulations. Multinational companies/entities would be well-advised to update their risk-based compliance programs and educate their relevant personnel to make compliance more likely, including by avoiding inadvertent violations of the Global Magnitsky Act, EO 13,818 and the GloMag Regs.
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ZTE: Was the Export Ban the Right Penalty?

The sentiments expressed by Senator Rubio and others reflect commercial, competition, policy, and strategic concerns held by business, policy makers, defense and national security officials, and others about China and Chinese firms like ZTE and Huawei. But when raised in the context of and as a justification for a specific legal enforcement action, the sentiments blur the lines between what should primarily be an enforcement based on facts and applicable laws, rather than an instrument for advancing wider policy objectives that are not specifically advanced by the laws applicable to the conduct for which ZTE was penalized. And, while Secretary Ross' stated rationale to impose the harsher penalty to change ZTE's behavior may have been sound, the recommendation of the career professionals with expertise in sanctions and export controls enforcement should, perhaps, have carried the day. Secretary Ross' description of the process leading to the export ban and the mess that has followed it give more reason to ask whether, in the first place, the export ban was the appropriate remedy as a matter of applicable laws and the objectives served by them.
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Hdeel Abdelhady Re-appointed Senior Adviser to American Bar Assn Middle East Committee

MassPoint Legal and Strategy Advisory is pleased to announce that Hdeel Abdelhady has been re-appointed to an additional one-year term as a Senior Adviser to the American Bar Association Middle East Committee, part of the ABA Section of International Law. A long-time member and leader of the ABA, Ms. Abdelhady will commence her 2018-2019 term in August 2018. Ms. Abdelhady, who was a Co-Chair of the Middle East Committee for three years until 2017, currently serves as a Senior Adviser to the Committee. In addition, Ms. Abdelhady is the ABA's Liaison to the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts) and serves on the Board of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) Middle East and North Africa Council (ROLI MENA Council).
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U.S. and International Business & Banking

Bank and Money Services Business Licensing and Compliance MassPoint works with U.S. and foreign clients wishing to establish banks and money services businesses (MSBs)/money transmitters from assessment of prospects for licensing to preparing and submitting applications and related documentation. Services include:…

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U.S. Law Liaison Services: Bridging the Gap Between U.S. Law and International Audiences

MassPoint is well-positioned to work with U.S.-based and foreign businesses on bridging the gaps between in-house legal, regulatory and compliance capacity and the U.S. legal landscape. MassPoint's Founder and Principal, Hdeel Abdelhady, has over fifteen years of experience working with multinational companies, banks and other entities, including working effectively with diverse legal, compliance and business personnel based in the United States and abroad. In addition, Ms. Abdelhady has fourteen years of experience teaching U.S. law and legal skills to foreign-educated and trained lawyers. Through her combined legal practice and teaching experience, Ms. Abdelhady has an understanding of the challenges faced by non-U.S. lawyers and business professionals in navigating the U.S. legal landscape and how the gaps can be bridged with effective communication, training and other capacity building across organizations.
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