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Jirayr Habibian

Jirayr Habibian

Managing Partner, UAE Office

Jirayr is the Managing Partner of Matouk Bassiouny’s UAE Office. He brings in a wealth of experience of working in the fields of corporate finance, trade finance, M&A transactions and capital markets across multiple jurisdictions including the UAE, Lebanon, Armenia, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.

Prior to joining Matouk Bassiouny, Jirayr acted in a variety of senior roles with leading international banks including acting as Chief Legal Officer and Board Secretary of Investbank, Chief General Counsel and Head of Regulatory Affairs at Rasmala Investment Bank, Head of Legal and Compliance at Bank of Sharjah, Regional Head of legal and compliance at Standard Chartered Bank, and non-Executive Director of the Board of Directors of Lebanese Swiss Bank.

Additionally, Jirayr designed the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Counter Financing training to the Central Bank of Armenia between 2005 and 2007, with the collaboration of the EBRD. When he was Legal Director at Damas Intl’ Ltd., he was responsible for negotiating an AED 3 billion debt restructuring and delisting the company from private sale. Jirayr was also previously an Of Counsel with Squire Patton Boggs LLC and a Junior Partner at Farid Halim El-Khoury Law Cabinet.

Jirayr is additionally a Founding and Board Member of ICC National Committee Armenia and has been appointed as a Member of the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. He also acted as Senior Legal Counsel to the undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department where he was responsible for establishing and running the Court of Arbitration of Sport, Alternate Hearing Centre in Abu Dhabi through 2019 in addition to drafting the UAE law on Sports Arbitration that was drafted in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the UAE Federal National Council.

Practice Focus

Jirayr currently focuses his practice on M&A transactions, trade finance, corporate finance (including debt restructuring), listing and IPO readiness and general corporate advisory.

Select Recent Experience

  • Advised on a USD 60 million transaction between a UAE armored vehicle manufacturer and a government-owned subsidiary in charge of the development of military vehicles.
  • Acted as a mediator in a real estate related litigation between two big corporate groups (one as owner of the project and the other as the contractor) in Dubai and resolved an AED 10 million dispute through mediation.
  • Advised Damas Intl’, at the time a Nasdaq listed company, on an AED 3 billion debt restructuring and delisting the company for private sale.
  • Advised Damas Intl’ on matters including a cascade agreement, various litigations in the UAE, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, and the entire corporate restructuring process of Damas Group in the UAE and abroad.
  • Advised on the restructuring of Investbank, as well as the strategic investment of the Gvt of Sharjah within the capital structure of the bank. Additionally advised the Chairman and the Board of Directors on the legal and regulatory issues the bank faced, including but not limited to the corporate governance new framework, Central Bank impairment requirements and its impact on the Bank’s CAR, as well as advising on different structures with different options in a view to re-capitalize the bank.
  • Advised Rasmala Investment Bank Ltd on a variety of matters including, establishing and maintaining required corporate vehicles necessary for the launching of funds, drafting subscription forms and relevant terms of business in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, drafting and reviewing term sheets for potential deals, running legal due diligences of target companies for potential acquisitions and advising on all legal and compliance related matters.
  • Advised Bank of Sharjah on Anti Money Laundering processes and procedures and performed active trainings, implementation of the Compliance Risk Management process and establishment and implementation of the corporate governance structure.
  • Advised Standard Chartered Bank on legality of new products/services and sales programs and the bank’s policy on international economic sanctions and dissemination thereof via active trainings, and also reviewed, drafted and negotiated Interest Swap Derivative Associations Master Agreements, undertook fraud investigations, and established the legal and compliance function in both Lebanon and Jordan.
  • Advised clients in legal due diligence exercises for the potential acquisition of three different banks in Egypt.
  • Advised clients in three different integrations following the acquisition of three banks in Lebanon, Jordan and Pakistan.


St. Joseph’s University Law School: Bachelor of Law, honour’s list with high distinction

Montpellier University: Diplome Universitaire: IT Law Degree






Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Lebanese Bar Association – Member
  • Armenian Bar Association – Member
  • Association of Anti Money Laundering Specialists – Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist
  • Court of Arbitration for Sports – Arbitrator
  • International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration – Court Member