Friends reunited in Dubai

With UK firms “cutting their own throats” (© Stephen Parish, Norton Rose) in Dubai, it was never going to be long before estranged partners faced each other over the negotiating table.

With UK firms “cutting their own throats” (© Stephen Parish, Norton Rose) in Dubai, it was never going to be long before estranged partners faced each other over the negotiating table.

And so it came to pass this week that one of the bitterest divorces came back to haunt Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) when Lovells partner Rahail Ali and his team came face-to-face with former DWS colleagues.

DWS banking and finance partner Matthew Sapte and one of Ali’s team members, Lovells partner Rustum Shah, were on opposite sides of the table on the recent sukuk issuance by Qatar Real Estate Investment Company. See story.

This is the first time the two teams have worked on the same deal since the split in May, when Ali and his team left to set up the Lovells Dubai office.

The split was all cloak and dagger, with juicy off-the-record briefings just adding to the intrigue. But DWS head of Islamic finance Farmida Bi was diplomacy personified when asked about the tricky reunion.

Bi said: “It was actually great to work with the team again. It’s always good to work with people you know and we all get on well. Both teams are keen to work on the same deals in the future.”

With no Islamic finance capabilities on the ground in Dubai, she may have little choice.