LL.M., Banking & Financial Law,
J.D., George Mason University
B.A., Economics and International Relations,
District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Farhad Alavi’s practice focuses on complex trade issues related to compliance with and enforcement of U.S. national security, including sanctions, export controls, customs, anti-corruption, as well as cross-border transactions, investment, and banking matters. He represents clients around the world, such as major multinationals, middle market businesses, and high net worth individuals.
Mr. Alavi regularly represents clients before the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS), and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on sanctions, export controls, and customs compliance and enforcement matters. He also represents clients before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on complex white collar criminal defense cases related to trade laws.
On the corporate side, Mr. Alavi’s work spans areas international agreements for both inbound and outbound transactions. He has particular experience in the energy, defense, finance, and hospitality sectors, and emerging markets, most notably the MENA region and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Mr. Alavi is often quoted by international and trade publications and news agencies such as The New York Times, CNN Money, AFP, Bloomberg, Financial Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Der Spiegel, and has appeared on BBC World, Al Jazeera English & Arabic, CGTN America, TRT World, and BBC Persian, among others. He also regularly lectures on trade compliance matters in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Mr. Alavi has also been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.
Prior to founding Akrivis, Mr. Alavi was an attorney at prominent global firms in Washington, including Baker & McKenzie LLP and Holland & Knight LLP, where he helped establish that firm’s Abu Dhabi office.
Born and raised in Virginia, Mr. Alavi is fluent in Persian (Farsi) and Spanish, and has knowledge of German, Arabic, and Turkish. He also maintains the U.S. Sanctions weblog. Mr. Alavi has served on the national Board of Directors of the Iranian-American Bar Association (IABA).
Recent Legal Engagements*:
- Secured the removal of multiple Asian companies from the BIS Entity List and one company from the Unverified List (UVL)
- Representing numerous clients on numerous federal criminal investigations led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in critical sanctions and export controls enforcement matters
- Advising on major Russia sanctions compliance issues both pre- and post-Ukraine invasion
- Successfully secured release of shipments detained by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) based on the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Withhold Release Order (WRO) on cotton and tomato products
- Representing multiple clients seeking removal from OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals (the SDN List)
- Advising major a bank’s Dubai and Singapore operations on complex OFAC compliance issues
- Regularly advising major U.S. companies in various sectors on implementing sanctions compliance programs
- Securing the correction of inaccurate, damaging information on companies in compliance screening databases maintained by Refinitiv World-Check and Dow Jones Factiva
Recent Speaking Engagements and Course Lectures:
- Panelist, Trade Expectations in the Biden Era: Policy, Diplomacy and Export Controls, Webinar hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Abu Dhabi chapter (co-panelists included former U.S. Ambassador to the UAE Michael Corbin), May 25, 2021
- Presented U.S. Sanctions – Developments, Challenges, and Compliance Approaches (co-panelist with Mercedeh Azeredo da Silveira, Managing Partner, AZHA Avocats), Geneva, Switzerland, January 16, 2020
- Presented Sanctions and Export Controls – Developments, Challenges & Compliance Approaches, (co-panelist with Camilla Collett, Partner & Ida Otzen, Associate, Gorrisen Federspiel), Copenhagen, Denmark, April 8, 2019
- Presented U.S. Sanctions & Export Controls Update, American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Abu Dhabi chapter, Abu Dhabi, December 12, 2018
- Presented U.S. Sanctions Update, promoted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Abu Dhabi chapter, Dubai, October 18, 2017
- Presented The Iran Sanctions Regime and Remaining Challenges: The US Perspective, (co-panelist with Camilla Collett, Partner, Gorrisen Federspiel), University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law, Copenhagen, Denmark, April 3, 2017
- Panelist, Managing Anti-Bribery Risks and Maintaining Internal Controls for Non-US Subsidiaries without Violating US Sanctions, Anti-Corruption Compliance in High Risk Markets, American Conference Institute, Washington, July 21, 2016
- Presented Sanctions Update, American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Abu Dhabi chapter, Abu Dhabi, May 22, 2016
- Presented Roundtable Discussion on the U.S. Sanctions Regime and Iranian Political Economy, The Delma Institute, Abu Dhabi, May 11, 2016
- Panelist, Fireside Chat: Risks and Rewards of Doing Business in Post-Deal Iran, Harvard Iranian Weekend, Harvard University, Cambridge, April 2, 2016
- Presented Iran Sanctions: Impact on U.S. and International Transactions Post-Nuclear Deal, Seminar Co-Hosted with Al Tamimi & Co. (represented by Andrew Hudson), Dubai, February 24, 2016
- Panelist, Dealing with State Monopolies and Inhisarat, ACI FCPA Bootcamp, Houston, January 26, 2016.
- Presented Sharia-Compliant Legal Structures in International Investments, University of Dubai, May 10, 2015
- Co-Presented Economic Sanctions on Iran and Anti-Corruption Regulations / U.S. and UAE Perspectives, Seminar Co-Hosted with Al Tamimi & Co. (represented by Ibtissam Lassoued, Partner), Abu Dhabi, February 10, 2015
- Presented Economic Sanctions Against Iran: The U.S. Perspective, Seminar Co-Hosted with Al Tamimi & Co. (represented by I. Lassoued, Partner), Dubai, February 25, 2014
*Prior outcomes do not guarantee future results. Each case is different and outcomes can be fact-specific.