Libra hires Robert Werner
Alt coins,  People

Libra Association hires another exec with financial enforcement experience

Robert Werner, a former director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, will become the stablecoin governing body’s general counsel

The Libra Association added another financial compliance and enforcement-friendly executive to its ranks on May 19, bringing former FinCEN Director Robert Werner aboard as general counsel.

Libra hires Robert Werner
Libra Association General Counsel Robert Werner (Photo: Libra Association)

Having headed up the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and served as undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, “Werner brings a wealth of regulatory, financial crime compliance and enforcement experience from his work in both the public and private sectors,” the Association said in a release

It added that he has “held leadership positions at several world-renowned financial institutions, including HSBC and Goldman Sachs, where he was the enterprise executive for policy, privacy and regulatory relations, in addition to heading financial crime compliance for Merrill Lynch.”

Werner also served as the U.S. Treasury Department’s assistant general counsel for enforcement and intelligence and director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

“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. “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.”

Overcoming opposition

Werner is neither the first nor the most senior Libra Association executive announced this month. On May 6, it announced Stuart Levey as the its CEO. His CV includes stints and a senior deputy attorney general and first undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The Facebook-founded stablecoin has faced strong headwinds from regulators, central bankers and politicians that the Association’s new financial crime-focused hires are designed to stave off. The concern is that a cryptocurrency immediately available to all of the social media giant’s 2.3 billion users could challenge national currencies. Along with destabilizing developing nations’ own fiat, this would make it harder for even major economies’ central bankers to fight economic downturns. 

In April, the embattled Libra Association radically overhauled the cryptocurrency’s design, switching from a single stablecoin backed by a basket of fiat currencies to one backed by a series of national currency-specific stablecoins such as the Libra dollar and Libra euro.

On April 16, it applied for a payment system license from FINMA, the Swiss financial regulator. 

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.