Legal advisors shown the door by The Wave

OMAN’S US$805 million tourism project, The Wave has fired its legal advisors, the internationally renowned law firm Trowers & Hamlins, Arabian Business can reveal.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  May 29, 2005

OMAN’S US$805 million tourism project, The Wave has fired its legal advisors, the internationally renowned law firm Trowers & Hamlins, Arabian Business can reveal. Irredeemable differences between the law firm and the project’s developers, a joint venture consisting of Oman’s Waterfront Investments, National Investment Funds Company and UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Investments, are believed to have put an end to the relationship earlier this month. “It is our right to drop a law firm just as it is our choice and right to choose which law firm we want to work with,” a spokeswoman for The Wave told Arabian Business. “It is the same as the personal choice an individual has to choose who he or she will work with or be represented by,” she added. Trowers & Hamlins has been the lead advisor on some of the largest and most significant projects in the Middle East for almost half a century. Over the last 45 years it has developed a substantial international practice in the region, with offices in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Cairo, Dubai and Oman, all of which provide advice on local law. However, differences with the project’s investors led to the firm’s secretive departure from the development. “Because of confidentiality matters, I can’t confirm or deny who is or isn’t a client of Trowers & Hamlin. Nor can I say who was a client of ours in the past, though I wish I could,” said Sean Angle, resident managing partner of Oman Trowers & Hamlin. The UK-based legal firm has an extensive network of correspondent relationships with respected local counsel in most states of the MENA region. But although the association between Trowers & Hamlins and The Wave is common knowledge in construction circles around the region, Waterfront Investments denies any knowledge of the relationship. “I refuse to confirm or deny whether Trowers & Hamlin have ever been involved with The Wave project or any other project Waterfront Investments has had an involvement in,” said Wael Al Lawati, acting CEO of Waterfront Investments. Overlooking the Gulf of Oman near the Seeb International Airport, The Wave will occupy a beachfront of more than seven kilometres, across a total area of over 400,000 square metres. The project is set to be developed in two phases — the first involving the reclamation of land, infrastructure development and site improvement and the second featuring the development of hotels, villas, towers as well as retail and restaurant outlets. Trowers & Hamlins is currently advising the government of Jordan on its master plan for energy and on a large-scale cross-border gas pipeline project.

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