Best Islamic legal advisor: Denton Wilde Sapte
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Best Islamic legal advisor: Denton Wilde Sapte

This year’s winner is Denton Wilde Sapte, while 2005’s winner, Norton Rose, came a close second. Denton Wilde Sapte has dedicated Islamic finance teams in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London, and its client list includes ABC Islamic, ABN Amro, ADIB, Amlak Finance, BarCap, DIB, DB, GIB, HSBC Amanah, KFH, Standard Chartered, Standard Bank, WestLB and Shamil Bank.

According to Rahail Ali, partner, banking and finance: “We have a sub-specialty within the Islamic finance field in sukuk, but in addition we do numerous syndicated Islamic transactions, bilateral transactions and Islamic finance products.” The firm advised on six major deals closed in the 12 months to November 2005: the $1 billion department of civil aviation sukuk al-ijara for the government of Dubai; the $550 million Emirates musharaka sukuk; the $200 million musharaka gold sukuk for the UAE’s DMCC; the $200 million Amlak finance musharaka sukuk; and most recently Arcapita Bank’s $210 million murabaha sukuk.

In Asia, the firm advised on the closure of Shamil Bank’s real estate fund in Hong Kong and a $75 million syndicated murabaha financing for Singapore’s Wilmar Trading. It also advised on a number of syndicated murabaha financings in Turkey.

Nevertheless, Ali notes: “The Gulf is our primary focus.

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