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DENTON Wilde Sapte is to launch in Lebanon through an association with local firm Chedid Law Offices.
The move marks an attempt by Dentons to get a foot in the door on postconflict reconstruction and major projects work in what has traditionally been a French sphere of influence.
Safwan Moubaydeen, who runs Dentons’ associate office in Amman, Jordan, said that an improved political situation in Lebanon, together with increased foreign investment made the timing ideal.
“There’s been a major gas discovery in Lebanese waters, major projects are expected to start in the next nine months and there’s incoming foreign investment from Gulf states,” he said. “You need to be ready when the work comes. In the future we hope, God willing, it will be a fully fledged Dentons office,” he added.
The relationship between three-partner Chedid and Dentons came off the back of personal contact between Dentons counsel Daniel Azan and managing partner Elias Chedid.
Azan, who will relocate to Amman in July, reported interest from French banks, such as BNP Paribas, in their advisers having a capability in the Levant. “For French people the Levant is key to influence, development and business much more than the Gulf,” he said.
Outside of the Gulf, Dentons has branded offices in Amman and Cairo and an association with a local firm in Libya.