Libra Taps Another Former FinCEN Official as General Counsel

The Switzerland-based entity managing the Facebook-led Libra project has added a former U.S. government official as its general counsel.

Announced by the Libra Association Tuesday, Robert Werner joins the project with “a wealth of regulatory, financial crime compliance and enforcement experience” from his previous roles as director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Werner has also acted as senior counsel for the Under Secretary of the Treasury, Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and assistant general counsel for Enforcement and Intelligence in the Office of the General Counsel.

The new addition marks Libra’s second hire of a former FinCEN official after Stuart Levey was brought on board as its first chief executive early in May. Levey – who is leaving HBSC for the new role – is expected to join “later this summer” to oversee Libra’s efforts to “combine technology innovation with a robust compliance and regulatory framework.”

In mid April, the Geneva-incorporated Libra Association kicked off the process of applying for a payment system license with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority – a move it said was “an important milestone as the Libra Association moves to a more operational phase of the project.”

The project has had its issues to date, however. After a tidal wave of regulatory kickback for its original concept of a stablecoin linked to a basket of fiat currencies, the plan was watered down somewhat in April, and it will now develop a number of stablecoins each representing a different fiat currency.

Prior to joining Libra, Werner was also the founder and CEO of GRH Consulting and had held senior positions at financial firms including HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join the Libra Association, as we work to transform the global payments landscape to empower billions of people,” Werner said in the announcement. “I have dedicated my career to combating financial crime and helping complex organizations achieve regulatory compliance, both in government and in the private sector. I look forward to meaningfully contributing to such an impactful project.”

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