Herbert Smith Freehills' Anti-Corruption Regulation Legal Guide for the Middle East

The first edition of our Anti-Corruption Regulation Legal Guide for the Middle East has been published.

We are delighted to launch this publication, which presents the legislative framework regulating bribery and corruption across arrange of Middle East jurisdictions, drawing upon the combined knowledge and experience of our lawyers, as well as qualified and experienced counsel in each of the jurisdictions covered. We understand this guide to be unique in terms of scope and content.

As Middle East countries continue to introduce new laws, regulations and initiatives to help in the fight against bribery and corruption, we hope you find this guide both timely and useful.

We extend our warmest thanks to all of our contributors as well, as our own lawyers for their extensive work on this guide. Contact details can be found at the end of each chapter.

Please click here to view the guide.

UAE and US led investigation disrupts wide scale Iranian money laundering scheme

The United States Treasury Department, working with authorities in the United Arab Emirates, has announced the dismantling of an alleged state sponsored money laundering scheme that reportedly provided millions of dollars to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force ("IRGC-QF"). Both the Iranian regime and its Central Bank were identified as abusing access to entities in the UAE in order to fund and arm IRGC-QF’s regional proxy groups. Many of the companies facilitating the scheme had been traced to the UAE, where it has been reported that over $1 billion in cash has been smuggled into Iran in spite of sanctions.

Steven T. Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary, thanked the UAE for its “close collaboration” in disrupting the large scale currency exchange network and fighting Iranian attempts to “fund…the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.” IGRC-QE has been described by Reuters as Iran's "most powerful security entity", with control over a significant portion of Iran's economy.

King of Saudi Arabia issues Royal Order protecting employees who report financial or administrative irregularities

Following a wide-scale crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has issued a Royal Order mandating Saudi authorities to provide protection to whistle-blowers after reports surfaced of individuals being mistreated following their reports of corruption.

The Royal Order stipulates that the National Anti-Corruption Commission shall report entities that take disciplinary action against employees, or threaten their rights or job benefits, after they report corrupt practices to the Commission. The Order is in line with Vision 2030 and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's push to transform an oil-dependent economy contending with lower global crude prices and systemic corruption into a more resilient and modernised economy.

$173 million internal fraud uncovered at Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank PJSC

Recent internal investigations at Al Hilal Bank PJSC have revealed a total of Dhs635 Million ($173 Million) was fraudulently withdrawn from a number of dormant customer accounts by employees of the Abu Dhabi state-owned Islamic lender. The money was then transferred to separate, fabricated accounts before being deposited elsewhere. Despite the significant amounts involved, the police and the central bank have been able to retrieve Dhs625 million of the fraudulently obtained funds. Furthermore, Abu Dhabi’s Judicial Department has confirmed that a total of 38 people have been arrested for the "unlawful confiscation" of the UAE bank's funds.