Spanning over two decades, DFDL has evolved from being a pioneer in the frontier markets of Asia to an established gateway into ASEAN markets and beyond, truly setting us apart from our competitors. With increasing numbers of international companies choosing to base their regional headquarters in Singapore, DFDL has instituted a hub approach by similarly establishing its ASEAN desk in Singapore. This serves as a first point of contact for clients and businesses seeking legal and tax advice in support of their regional expansion throughout the dynamic markets of ASEAN, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Our ASEAN team comprises 8 regional legal advisers from a wide range of legal backgrounds. They strive to provide seamless, tailored, and integrated services to companies on their foreign investment strategies and cross-border transactions across multiple jurisdictions.

Nowadays, clients rightfully expect consistent and international standards of legal services. Our ASEAN Desk assures the delivery of premium quality legal services by bridging the service gaps frequently encountered by companies when doing business in these emerging markets. We understand the Asian cultures, and can help navigate the language barriers through a single point of contact.

Our ASEAN Desk is an integral part of DFDL’s fully integrated offices and has the full support of over 170 legal and tax advisers from across eight countries.

DFDL in Singapore is qualified as a foreign law practice and is not licensed to practice Singapore law. DFDL in Singapore cooperate with local law firms.

Area of Expertise

  • Banking, Finance & Technology
  • Compliance & Investigations
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Employment & Labor
  • Energy, Mining & Infrastructure
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Taxation & Accounting

Key Experience

  • An American multinational conglomerate, specializing in sectors such as Aviation, Healthcare, Renewable energy, on its employment advisory regional retainer across nine countries.
  • ANZ Bank, in relation to several aspects of corporate advisory matters, including branch establishment, contract review and tax audit assistance covering five jurisdictions.
  • Belt Road Capital, on its various M&A transactions and corporate advisory services in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Singapore.
  • Citibank, on a detailed regulatory survey for offshore products and financial services in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.Belt Road Capital, on its various M&A transactions and corporate advisory services in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Singapore.
  • Dell, a giant technology company, on annual tax retainer services and general advisory assistance in Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
  • Grab, a multinational ride-hailing company, on its tax compliance and legal assistance in multiple South East Asia jurisdictions.
  • One of the world’s largest multinational food and beverage corporation, on its legal and tax annual regional retainer covering all of its operations across ten jurisdictions in Asia.
  • Sumitomo, a well-known diversified corporation, in relation to M&A assistance as well as corporate advisory services across Asia.
  • Sodexo, on a tailored annual retainer, covering its corporate and employment matters throughout Asia including South Korea and Hong Kong.
  • The largest oil and gas corporation in Thailand on a bi-annual corporate advisory retainer covering all nine countries.

Key Members

Martin Desautels

After being Managing Partner of DFDL for nearly 20 years, Martin has now moved to a new position as a Senior Partner. Martin remains engaged in advising clients and leading transactions, as well as supporting the new Managing Partner of the firm. He also plays a leadership role in overseeing people, clients and, more specifically, the firm’s growth strategy. He continues leading the development of the award-winning Connector Unit, an innovative DFDL platform that was built to assist the firm’s clients in having the visibility of new business leads in DFDL markets.

Martin is one of the leading banking and finance lawyers in the emerging markets of Asia, and is also recognized for his infrastructure and energy sector expertise. As a practitioner in ASEAN for more than 20 years, he has developed extensive experience of working with investments funds, international banks and sizeable Asian investors on their investments and expansion strategies across the ASEAN Region. He has also advised various governmental bodies via technical assistance projects (notably for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Agence Française de Développement) on various aspects of the development of investment, regulatory and legal frameworks.

Martin is ranked as a leading lawyer by renowned legal directories such as Chambers Asia Pacific, IFLR, Asialaw and Legal 500.

Martin Desautels

Senior Partner & Head of the ASEAN Desk

William Greenlee

William’s practice focuses on M&A, international transactions, securities, corporate, energy, mining and infrastructure, and project finance. He has extensive experience with manufacturing, retail, banking and finance, technology, media and telecommunications (TMT), real estate development, aviation, hospitality and tourism, mining, power and the oil and gas industries throughout Asia. For over two decades William has been advising high profile clients from around the world. He has advised, among many others, on the Myingyan gas- fired power project, the first internationally tendered large-scale power project in Myanmar. He is continually involved in negotiating, structuring, documenting and managing large transactions, working with private equity firms, opportunity-fund companies and other international companies throughout Asia.

He is recognized as a leading practitioner by all of the Chambers, Asia Pacific Legal 500 and IFLR 1000. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Oregon in Asian Studies with a minor in East Asian Literature and a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco, California. As well as running the DFDL Myanmar and Singapore offices, William co-heads the firm’s regional China desk, which acts as a hub for Chinese investment into ASEAN. He is US-qualified attorney, licensed in California and Nevada.

William Greenlee

Partner, Myanmar & Singapore Managing Director

Vinay Ahuja

Vinay is a partner in the regional Banking & Finance Practice Group and is the Group Leader. He also serves as the head of the India Desk and as well as leading the firm’s Indonesia Practice. He is a fintech and technology specialist.

With 15 years of transactional and advisory experience, a decade of which has been spent in Southeast Asia with DFDL, Vinay has advised several domestic and international banks both lenders and borrowers, sponsors, private and institutional investors, insurance companies, development banks, governments, agencies and state owned enterprises in their domestic and cross-border finance transactions including commercial and institutional lending, acquisition and leveraged finance, project finance, securitization and structured finance, derivatives, secured and unsecured transactions, and regulatory advice and compliance. He also leads on a number of key client relationships and is one of the firm’s B&F sector leaders.

He has also advised a vast spectrum of corporate and multinational clients on complex transactions in Indonesia, Lao PDR and Thailand relating to energy, infrastructure, mining, information technology, telecommunications, transport and logistics, and agriculture. Of late, he has been advising several clients operating in the realm of block chain and crypto currencies.

A regular speaker at various international industry conferences, seminars, and workshops, Vinay has also authored a number of articles and papers published in various newspapers, magazines and journals, including the IPBA Journal, Asian-MENA, ALB, and IBLJ.

Vinay has also been recognized as a ‘Distinguished Practitioner’ by Asia Law in 2020 and Thailand’s Top 100 Lawyer in 2019 by Asia Business Law Journal.

Vinay Ahuja

Partner, Head of Regional Banking, Finance & Technology Practice & Head of Indonesia Practice