Co-founder and board member of Libra and leader of Calibra David Marcus
Co-founder and board member of Libra and leader of Calibra David Marcus. MIT Technology Review

Former U.S. government official Robert Werner has joined the Geneva-incorporated Libra Association as its general counsel, the association said in a press release on 19 May.

According to the announcement, Werner brings to the table his vast experience from both the public and private sectors, including his previous roles as director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). He further held senior positions in financial firms, such as HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, and was also the founder and CEO of GRH Consulting.

In the past, Werner 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.

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He said in the announcement:

“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. 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.”

This is not the first time the Libra Association hired a former FinCEN official. On 6 May, the association made another appointment, this time bringing in the former undersecretary for terrorism to president Barack Obama, Stuart Levey, as its CEO. Expected to join the Libra Association later this summer, Levey will oversee Libra’s efforts to “combine technology innovation with a robust compliance and regulatory framework”.

With these high-profile appointments, it seems as if Libra is trying to navigate the U.S. regulatory landscape, after all, the firm did experience a tidal wave of regulatory kickback when it published its initial whitepaper last year. Since then, the project has had to implement changes to its whitepaper, and will now develop a number of stablecoins each representing a different fiat currency, instead of one stablecoin backed by a basket of currencies.

Last month, the association also kicked off the process of applying for a payment system license with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). As the association puts it, the licensing process is an important milestone for the project, as it moves to a more “operational phase of the project”.

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