Farhad Alavi, Partner, Akrivis Law Group, PLLC

Managing Partner
Washington, DC

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LL.M., Banking & Financial Law,
Boston University

J.D., George Mason University

B.A., Economics and International Relations,
Tufts University


District of Columbia


U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Persian (Farsi)
German (basic)
Arabic (basic)
Turkish (basic)

Farhad Alavi’s practice focuses on complex trade issues related to U.S. national security, including sanctions, export controls, customs, anti-corruption, as well as cross-border transactions and finance matters.  He represents clients around the world, including 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 international agreements for both inbound and outbound transactions. He is especially experienced in the energy, defense, finance, and hospitality sectors, and emerging markets, most notably in the MENA and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions.

Mr. Alavi is often quoted by international publications and news agencies such as The New York Times, CNN Money, AFP, Bloomberg, Financial TimesThe New York Times, The Wall Street JournalWashington Post, and Der Spiegel, and has appeared on BBC World, Al Jazeera English & Arabic, CGTN America, TRT World, Al Hurra, and BBC Persian, among others. He also regularly lectures on trade 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.  Mr. Alavi has served on the national Board of Directors of the Iranian-American Bar Association (IABA) and is a member of the International Bar Association (IBA). He also maintains the U.S. Sanctions weblog.  

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 federal criminal investigations of sanctions and export controls violations led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Advising on complex Russia sanctions compliance issues both pre- and post-Ukraine invasion
  • Representing multiple clients seeking removal from OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the SDN List)
  • Advising a major 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
  • Counseling a major east Asian technology company on the BIS “foreign direct product” (FDP) rule against Huawei entities
  • Advising a Cyprus-based private equity investment group on the impact of U.S. secondary sanctions
  • 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.