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Peter Somekh

Managing Partner, Middle East and Africa
Peter Somekh has a strong background in finance and restructuring.
The Legal 500 EMEA 2021

Peter holds several leadership positions within the firm. He is currently DLA Piper's Regional Managing Partner for the Middle East, Managing Partner for DLA Piper Africa.

Peter has a strong background and reputation for market-leading finance and restructuring matters and is highly regarded for the work that he undertakes in the UAE and the wider GCC.

Peter routinely acts for the leading firms of insolvency practitioners, clearing banks and other financial institutions. In particular, he is recognised for his ability to combine strong technical expertise with a very practical approach. 

  • Acting for the joint administrators for the UK parent of one of the largest private healthcare companies in the UAE, on the restructuring of approximately US$6.6 billion debt.
  • Advising a major Dubai Bank in relation to a wide range of issues associated with its distressed lend portfolio, including issues arising from lending and security packages, to a number of developer clients.
  • Advising the joint liquidators of one of the world’s largest commodities traders with a debt burden in excess of USD1 billion.

Outside of the office, Peter enjoys spending time with family and has an interest in classic cars, some of which work. Peter is motivated by new challenges and enjoys finding innovative solutions to clients’ issues.

Professional QualificationsSolicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales



  • Acting for the trustees of the KBBO Group in respect of an onshore restructuring of entities with debt in excess of USD4bn.
  • Acting for the trustees of the Phoenix group of companies in respect of a liquidation and asset recovery mandate with total debt in excess of USD6bn.
  • Acting for the directors of Wirecard Middle East in respect of a solvent winding-up being part of one of the biggest financial restructuring assignments post-Lehman.
  • Acting for Big Four appointed trustees in respect of a complex high value real estate matter referable to a very significant high profile family group necessitating an in-depth awareness of KSA legislation relating to ownership rights, litigation and real estate title matters. Successfully represented creditor interests through close collaboration with KSA counsel and stakeholders resulting in a substantial creditor return.
  • Acting in relation to the Zavvi Group of Companies in relation to its reorganisation.
  • Acting for various financial institutions based in Dubai in relation to debt asset swaps and other forms of asset transfers.
  • Acts for a significantly high profile local bank in relation to a strategic review of its entire distressed portfolio. We are now implementing the options identified across  the entire portfolio range.
  • Acting in relation to the USD1.2bn restructuring of A'ayan Leasing & Investment Company KSCC being a transaction which involved the obtaining a Financial Stability Order and multiple debt to equity and debt to asset swaps.
  • Acting for International Investment Group KSCC in relation to its financial restructuring. 
  • Acting for Wataniya Airways in relation to its wind down which involved detailed negotiations with aircraft leasing companies and regulatory bodies. 
  • Acted for international financial institutions in relation to exposure to high profile Middle East entities. 
  • Acting for Kuwait Finance Centre (Markaz) in relation to the restructuring of a Kuwaiti entity.
  • Acting for Kodak (Near East) Inc in relation to the Middle East aspects of its restructuring.
  • Advising on and drafting of new insolvency regulations for the UAE-based freezone. Our work involved an extensive benchmarking of comparative countries in addition to other UAE-based freezones, along with an on-the-ground analysis exercise to ensure the new laws fit within existing legal frameworks. The new DMCC regulations follow the introduction of the new UAE insolvency law in December 2017.
  • Advising on and drafting of insolvency regulations for the Ministry of Finance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Our work involved an extensive benchmarking exercise against a range of countries, both in sophisticated and developing markets, in addition to on-the-ground analysis to ensure the new laws worked within the frameworks of existing country laws.
  • Advising board of directors of Aerofarms AGX Ltd on ADGM entity in relation to their pre-insolvency obligations and the administrators in respect of subsequent administration.
  • Acting for Qatar Financial Centre in connection with drafting new insolvency law.
  • Acting for the liquidators of BPGIC Holdings Limited a Cayman entity and the directors of Brooge Energy Limited a NASDAQ listed entity.
  • BA Economics and Economic History, Liverpool

Awards and recognitions

  • Ranked - UAE Restructuring/Insolvency, Chambers Global 2024
  • Ranked – Band 2 UAE Restruturing – Chambers Partners
  • Notable practitioner, Restructuring/Insolvency, Global: Multi-Jurisdictional, Chambers Global 2022
  • Recommended lawyer, Banking and Finance, United Arab Emirates, The Legal 500 EMEA 2022
  • DLA Piper named International Law Firm of the Year, African Legal Awards 2020-21
  • DLA Piper Africa ranked Band 1 in the Leading Regional Law Firm Networks category, Chambers Global 2021
  • DLA Piper named Energy & Infrastructure Team of the Year, Middle East Legal Awards 2020, hosted by Legal Week