News 28 May. 2024

Curtis Boosts Its Presence in the Middle East with Finance and Islamic Finance team

Curtis is pleased to welcome leading finance and Islamic finance lawyer Victoria Mesquita to its Dubai office as a partner, together with Ganna Vlasenko, who joins as counsel.

The team joins from the UAE office of a leading international firm and together bring complementary strengths in both traditional and Islamic finance.

Ms. Mesquita is at the forefront of the development of complex investment solutions in the region. She has developed her finance practice over two decades, with a focus on banking and finance, project financing and capital markets transactions, predominantly structured as Shari’a-compliant transactions.

Notable for her breadth of experience in both traditional and Islamic finance, Ms. Mesquita advises private funds, private clients and family offices on complex investment solutions such as structured notes, securitizations, private placements, bond and sukuk issuances, programmes and restructurings, private credit, direct lending, venture debit and mezzanine financing, in particular those which are structured as Shari’a compliant investments, in a wide range of industries including energy, water, real estate, infrastructure, healthcare, education and technology.

Ms. Vlasenko’s debt capital markets experience includes advising underwriters and issuers on the full range of debt capital market products, including corporate and sovereign bonds and sukuk, private placements, medium term notes and sukuk programmes, securitizations, structured products, liability management and regulatory capital issuances. In the Islamic finance industry, Ms. Vlasenko has developed a reputation for advising on more complex or innovative transactions, many of which have been award-winning deals. Having started her career with a Magic Circle firm in London and, having also worked for global financial institutions, Ms. Vlasenko moved to Dubai in 2017.

Ms. Mesquita is a high-profile addition to Curtis’ capabilities in the UAE, and reflects Curtis’ commitment to growing its offering in the wider GCC region. She has advised on innovative and first-of-its kind Shari’a compliant financial products and structures, including award-winning Sukuk and structured-financing deals. Ms. Mesquita also has significant experience advising on complex cross-border fund formation and structuring. She is admitted in New York and Spain, and is well known in the GCC, where she has worked for over 15 years.

“Our clients in GCC and globally will appreciate Victoria’s breadth of experience in conventional finance and, in particular, her expertise in Shari’a compliant finance. She is a terrific person and we are delighted to have her in the Dubai team,” said Jeremy Miocevic, the Managing Partner of Curtis Dubai.

Ms. Mesquita commented, “I am delighted to join Curtis, a firm well known for its internationally oriented approach, network of high-calibre and talented attorneys and stellar client list. I am particularly excited about working closely with our leading New York Islamic finance practice on complex cross- border Shari’a-compliant investment solutions. The firm is a perfect complement for my practice and I hope to make a significant contribution towards growing the firm’s Middle East-wide and international finance capabilities.”

Ms. Mesquita is commended as an Islamic Finance lawyer by market commentators such as Chambers Global 2024, which notes “ [she] adeptly advises clients on the full spectrum of Shari'a compliant finance instruments, in addition to being well versed in hybrid structures” and has wide-ranging expertise across finance facilities to sukuk and high-yield capital markets products. Chambers has also deemed her a “brilliant negotiator”. She is also commended by Legal 500 EMEA as an “outstanding finance lawyer” for investment fund formation and financing. Ms. Mesquita holds an M.B.A. specializing in Islamic finance from Bayes Business School and a J.D. from New York University. She is fluent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

The team’s arrival is the latest development in the firm’s Middle East strategy and follows the arrival of experienced corporate partner Julien Hansen in the Dubai office in October 2023.

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