Baker & McKenzie has recruited finance specialist Basel Barakat from local Saudi outfit The Law Firm of Hassan Mahassni. He will join the US firm as partner, working across its Riyadh and Manama offices. 

Specialising in banking and Islamic and project finance, the New York qualified Barakat is widely regarded as one of the strongest local lawyers in these fields in Saudi Arabia. Recently he has been involved in several major infrastructure projects in the Kingdom, including the $2.8 billion financing for the King Abdulaziz International Airport and the $2.6 billion Rabigh II IPP (independent power project).

Commenting on his move, Barakat said it was driven in part by the opportunity to have a larger platform to build his practice from, and that Baker & McKenzie was an ideal choice for this for several reasons. "It is one of the oldest and most established international firms in Saudi so I don't have to worry about them leaving like some who come in for one or two years and pull out if it doesn't work out. Their reputation is very good, and I know the firm very well having worked across from them on many deals," he said. 

Baker & McKenzie has one of the longest standing cooperation’s in the Kingdom, dating back to 1980. The Bahrain office was launched almost 20 years later in 1999.