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Welcome to this S-RM Regional Bulletin, which focuses on the Middle East and North Africa. This edition features two articles which take a closer look at corruption and regulatory issues in two contrasting commercial environments: Israel and Iran. We have a wealth of experience undertaking compliance due diligence projects in both countries, which each present their own unique challenges to potential investors.

Our feature piece focuses on Iran’s ports sector and the risks presented by the presence, both overt and hidden, of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s elite security forces. The IRGC are one of several entities which remain subject to international sanctions following the nuclear deal signed last year, but their influence extends to almost every sector of the Iranian economy. Iran’s ports provide an interesting case study, given they represent an alignment of strategic and economic interests for the IRGC. The article hopefully offers some interesting points to consider for firms looking at opportunities in sectors such as oil & gas, FMCG and infrastructure.

Our second article discusses the various corruption allegations surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has dominated domestic politics in Israel since at least 1996. The allegations against Netanyahu reflect a longstanding tradition of corruption scandals amongst Israeli politicians. We discuss the specific factors underpinning corruption in Israel, which represents a key risk for companies entering politically exposed sectors such as defence, media, and others.

We hope you find the articles interesting. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised with the team, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Tom Crooke
Associate Director, Middle East & North Africa