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Afridi & Angell

Shahram Safai

Shahram Safai



  • Corporate & Commercial
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Venture Capital

WSG Practice Industries


Afridi & Angell
United Arab Emirates

WSG Leadership

IBA Group
Mr Safai is a partner at Afridi & Angell and his practice consists of corporate law, real estate law and disputes. Mr Safai also advises on private equity and venture capital transactions. Mr Safai heads the firm’s real estate team and venture capital team and he has been highly sought after by boards and shareholders for strategic legal advice. He is active in lobbying for and providing constructive feedback to government organizations regarding regional laws and regulations pertaining to venture capital investment, corporate governance and real estate.

Mr Safai also advises clients with respect to investments, joint ventures and doing business in Iran. Such advice involves franchise and agency matters, build operate transfer transactions, regulatory & legal compliance and strategies, foreign investment protection regimes, sanctions and anti-money laundering implications.

Mr Safai is also a registered professional engineer and he has previously worked as a design engineer, a hydroelectric dam manager in charge of biologists, technicians, electricians and mechanics, as well as a construction engineer. He is also a regular speaker at seminars on legal developments and current issues in real estate and construction law. At the invitation of the Government of Dubai, Mr. Safai lectures on legal matters at the Land Department.

Prior to joining Afridi & Angell Mr Safai was an associate at Cooley Godward in Palo Alto, California practicing venture capital law.

Bar Admissions

State Bar of California


M.B.A., Webster University, U.S.A., 2002
J.D., University of British Columbia, Canada, 1998
Bachelor of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Canada, 1992
Areas of Practice

Corporate & Commercial | Real Estate & Construction | Venture Capital

Professional Career

Professional Associations

  • International Bar Association
    State Bar of California
    Law Society of England and Wales
    Canadian Bar Association
    Association of Professional Engineers of British C


• Speaker, Term Sheets Made Simple, Womena Angel Series Workshop, 23 April 2016, Dubai
• Speaker, Real Estate in Dubai, a presentation to students from Kingston University, 5 April 2016, Dubai Land Department and Dubai Real Estate Institute
• Speaker, The control of transactions: how is the transparency of real estate owners ensured?, Structuring real estate ownership in Dubai, 2 March 2016, Dubai
• Panelist, Setting Up an Entity & Opening Bank Accounts: Onshore, Free Zone & Offshore, Dubai Forward, 17 February 2016, Dubai
• Chairman and Speaker, Doing Business in Dubai, and what you need to know about the UAE and Dubai, Dubai Forward, 15 February 2016, Dubai
• Speaker, Managing the transition to DIFC wills: what is the impact on existing and common succession instruments/techniques?, Optimal Successions in Dubai & the UAE, 24 November 2015, Dubai
• Speaker, Dubai Land Department and succession issues/transfer of property, Optimal Successions in Dubai & the UAE, 23 November 2015, Dubai
• Panelist, MENA M&A Landscape: trends, challenges and winning strategies, The American Lawyer’s Global M&A Playbook, 28 October 2015, New York
• Speaker, Construction / Real Estate Sector / UAE Forecasts – Opportunity – Challenge – Risks / Land Department & RERA Functioning – Settlement of Disputes, ICC Forum 2015, 22 April 2015, Dubai
• Panelist, Operating in Dubai: what are the best options for your strategy?, Dubai Forward: The 2nd annual strategic conference on Dubai as a financial & wealth management centre, 23 & 24 February 2015, Dubai
• Speaker, Real Estate in Dubai – The Amazing Decade, a presentation to a delegation from Singapore, 25 February 2015, Dubai Land Department
• Speaker, Hello Tomorrow – where science and technology meet entrepreneurship to build our tomorrow, 18 February 2015, Hult International Business School, Dubai
• Speaker, Legal Aspects of VC: The VC Term Sheet in Focus, Dubai Silicon Oasis, 9 February 2015
• Speaker, Offshore Companies – where to create an offshore company to hold real estate in the UAE?, Optimal Succession in Dubai & the UAE, 24 & 25 November 2014, Dubai
• Real Estate in the UAE – The Amazing Decade (an Information Exchange organised by The American Business Council of Dubai & Northern Emirates), 19 November 2014
• Panelist, Dispute Resolution in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting 2014, 28-31 October 2014, New Orleans
• Chairman and Speaker, Spotlight on Construction – Challenges and Fiduciary Duties, Afridi & Angell (in conjunction with Snag & Inspect) client seminar, 21 January 2014
• Panelist, Corporate finance: 2014 and beyond, 2013 ACT Middle East Annual Conference, Driving Growth, Building Futures, DIFC, Dubai, 26-27 November 2013
• Construction Law in the UAE: Issues and Practical Solutions, Afridi & Angell client seminar, 28 March 2012 (Dubai), 11 April 2012 (Abu Dhabi)


SAFEs-Start-Up Company Financing
Afridi & Angell, September 2021

The UAE has seen a significant increase in investments and entrepreneurship over the last decade. The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) reported record growth driven by ‘a robust ecosystem, global partnerships and investment in FinTech and Innovation’. This exceptional growth in investments has acted as a catalyst for the increased usage of Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs) in start-up company financings...

Booming Market: Real Estate Ownership Rules for Foreigners in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Afridi & Angell, September 2021

The real estate market in Dubai has been making significant improvements in 2021 after the successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the UAE. March 2021 had the highest number of transactions in 16 months as well as the highest number of secondary/ready properties transacted for foreigners in a single month since June 2015. This boom in sales resulted in record increases (23 per cent annual increase between April to June for luxury villas)...

Doing Business in Sudan - A New Era
Afridi & Angell, April 2021

Lifting of US Sanctions The US Government announced the removal of Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism effective as of Monday 14 December 2020. After 27 years of US sanctions, such step restores sovereign immunity for the Sudanese government in US Courts. It is also a critical step in the process of reintegrating Sudan into the global economy and offering a lifeline of international financial aid to Sudan...

Additional Articles

• Venture Capital Investment: Market and Regulatory Overview, 2016, Practical Law Multi-Jurisdictional Guide (co-author of UAE chapter)
• Doing Business in Iran: Life After (Secondary) Sanctions, Afridi & Angell inBrief, 2 February 2016
• Commercial Real Estate in the United Arab Emirates: overview, Practical Law Global Guide (co-author of UAE chapter), 2015/16
• The many demands venture capital firms will make, Gulf News, 29 November 2015
• Navigating a course through commercial disputes, Gulf News, 4 November 2015
• Start-ups: It’s all about the rights, Start Up (Arabian Business), November 2015
• Fixing the blame in a fire mishap and moving on, Gulf News, 16 March 2015
• Making Monetary Sense: [The How-To] Understand Your VC Term Sheet (co-author), Entrepreneur Middle East, February 2015
• Ways and Means to Build a Budget Hotel in Dubai, Gulf News, 14 January 2015
• Legal Safety Nets Owners Need to Look Out For (co-author), Gulf News, 11 January 2015
• Liquidation of Cancelled Real Estate Projects in Dubai, Practical Law Multi-jurisdictional Guide 2013
• Venture Capital Investment: Market and Regulatory Overview, 2015, Practical Law Multi-Jurisdictional Guide (co-author of UAE chapter)
• IPO You Start-Up, Start Up (Arabian Business), April 2014
• Venture Capital Fund: A-How-to-Guide, Start Up (Arabian Business), February 2014
• Balancing Founder Control and Venture Capital Money, Start Up (Arabian Business), November 2013
• The Rise of Venture Capital in the Middle East, Start Up (Arabian Business), October 2013
• Pay on Time - Is the Collection of Service Charges a Big Headache?, Property Times, March 2013
• Dubai Real Estate, The American Lawyer, October 2012
• Construction Law in the UAE, Lawyer Monthly, April 2012

WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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