Stevan Bunnell joins Libra

Libra hires ex-Homeland Security general counsel as chief lawyer

This is the second time that the Libra Association changed its top lawyer in three months

The Libra Association has appointed Stevan Bunnell, a former general counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as its chief legal officer.

Bunnell will take over the role of Robert Werner—the former director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)—at the Facebook-created stablecoin governing body. Werner only took up the role in May.

As Modern Consensus reported, Werner—who also served as the undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence—said at the time that he viewed working at Libra as an opportunity to “transform the global payments landscape.” 

Now, Bunnel is taking over his role, Werner told Bloomberg Law on Aug. 26. 

“I decided that the role wasn’t the right fit for me,” said Werner.

Werner explained that he had to decide between his role at Libra and his spot on the board of directors for Deutsche Bank Trust Co. and Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas. Both positions were roles he “very much enjoyed over the past year,” said Werner. That appears to have forced him to leave the Libra Association.

After serving at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bunnell was a managing partner at the Washington office of international law firm O’Melveny & Myers. 

Business information firm Owler estimates that O’Melveny has annual revenues of over $835 million. As Bloomberg Law pointed out, O’Melveny advised a group of eight cryptocurrency companies last year—including Anchorage, Coinbase, and Kraken—in creating the Crypto Rating Council. The organization is attempting to foster securities law compliance in the crypto industry.

Libra is no stranger to high-profile hires. In May, the association appointed a top HSBC executive and former deputy attorney general in charge of financial crimes and sanctions, Stuart Levey, as its CEO. Much like Bunnell, hiring this former regulator was aimed at sending the clear message that Libra is focusing on compliance in an attempt to reassure central bankers, regulators, and elected officials.

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Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.