Saudi Arabia project expert joins Baker and McKenzie

Basel Barakat, who has advised on many of Saudi Arabia’s large IPP and IWPP projects, has been hired from Hassan Mahassni.

Baker & McKenzie, the global law firm with US origins, has hired banking and finance lawyer Basel Barakat as a partner.

Barakat, who joins from Saudi Arabian law firm Hassan Mahassni, will divide his time between Baker & McKenzie’s Riyadh and Bahrain offices.

In his previous role, Barakat focused on project finance, Islamic finance and syndicated lending and – according to a Baker & McKenzie statement – advised on “the majority” of project financing arrangements for Saudi Arabia’s Integrated Water & Power Plant (IWPP) and Independent Power Producer (IPP) programs to date as well as other “prestigious” infrastructure projects.

Hassan Mahassni’s website says Barakat – who was educated in the US – advised on deals such as the $2.5 billion project financing of the Shuaibah III IWPP (Saudi Arabia’s first IWPP project) and the $450 million financing of the Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company’s third container terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port (the country’s first private greenfield build-operate-transfer container terminal project).

Ian Siddell, co-managing partner of Baker & McKenzie’s Bahrain, Doha and Riyadh offices, said in the statement that Barakat’s “experience advising on many of the most complex and largest financings in Saudi Arabia over the past decade will add significant value to our client offering”.

Baker & McKenzie claims to have been the first global law firm to have opened an associated office in Riyadh in 1980. It opened offices in Bahrain in 1999, Abu Dhabi in 2009, Doha in 2011 and Dubai in 2013. In all, it has 75 offices globally in 47 countries.