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Libra Association Appoints Former FinCEN Director as First General Counsel

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The Switzerland-based Libra Association, a group of independent companies led by social media giant Facebook has appointed Robert Werner as General Counsel ahead of the launch of the Libra payment network later this year.

This announcement comes days following the appointment of HSBC chief legal officer Stuart Levey as CEO of the association. The Libra Association on Tuesday stated that Werner brings with him “a wealth of regulatory, financial crime compliance and enforcement experience” owing to his previous roles in the US government and global financial organizations.

At the moment, Werner is the founder and CEO of GRH Consulting. Before that he had served as an executive in charge of Policy, Privacy, and Regulatory Relations at HSBC and Goldman Sachs as well as heading Merrill Lynch’s financial crime compliance department. However, his most notable roles will have to be in public service as a top-ranking member of the US government.

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Mr. Werner was, for a brief period in 2006, a Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the US Treasury Department and the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, (OFAC). He also served as Senior Counsel to 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.

Mr. Werner has also served in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice advising the Attorney General and the White House. His addition to the Libra Association is an indication of the association’s seriousness about adhering to laid out rules and regulations which became a problem last year when Facebook announced the launch of the project’s whitepaper.

“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”

The appointment comes weeks after Libra Association formerly applied for a payment system license from the Swiss Financial Markets Authority (FINMA). Also, the association recently updated its whitepaper to partially address some of the concerns held by regulators and lawmakers about the initial plan as presented by Facebook in June last year. And just this past week, Crypto-Economy reported that the association had increased its membership to 27 with an addition of three new members.