Law firm Charles Russell LLP has appointed Ashley Freeman to head up the Islamic Finance practice in the firm’s Financial Services team. Freeman, who joins the firm as Senior Counsel, has extensive global banking and financial services experience, encompassing strategic, transactional and regulatory matters in both Islamic and conventional industries.

Freeman has expert understanding of cross-border and comparative law issues; particularly the inter-play between common law, civil law and Shari’ah precepts. His arrival reinforces the breadth of Charles Russell’s financial services practice and the growing demand for Islamic finance expertise in the UK market.

Freeman’s expertise, developed through many years’ experience in-house at the Central Bank of Bahrain and in private practice with City of London firms, includes bank mergers, acquisitions, conversions, receiverships, restructurings and insolvencies. He has considerable transactional experience, including experience of asset-backed finance, project finance, acquisition finance, property finance, leasing finance and all Islamic financing techniques. Freeman also has excellent knowledge of equity and securities funding, securitisations, asset and fund management, insurance and takaful, financial trades, derivatives and payment systems.

Freeman has documented and directed the documenting of numerous multi-million dollar lending facilities and bond issues (including several sovereign issues) and other complex funding transactions. He will work closely with Jon Bond in the London office and Wesam Alshafei in the Bahrain office and will be instrumental in expanding the team’s capability.

Commenting on the appointment, Jon Bond, Head of the Financial Services sector at Charles Russell, said: “Ashley’s arrival is a testament to the firm’s focus and continued success in the Financial Services sector. Ashley brings significant experience in Islamic Finance, particularly in the UK and Middle East and this together with his broader banking experience will further enhance our offering to our clients. We are delighted to have him on board.’’

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