Facebook-backed Libra Scores Former FinCEN Official as General Counsel
Image Credit: TechMeru
  • The Libra Association announced that former Senior Counselor to the Under Secretary, Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Robert Werner has joined the firm as General Counsel.
  • This announcement follows the appointment of former HSBC legal chief Stuart Levey as Libra Association’s CEO.
  • The firm has been going through scrutiny for concerns over security and privacy resulting in companies such as Mastercard, Visa and PayPal pulling out from its membership.

From a slew of high-profile members exiting the firm to facing intense scrutiny from regulators, the Libra Association – the consortium responsible for Facebook’s digital asset Libra – has had a challenging time. 

However, the firm is going from strength to strength since the past few weeks. It announced today that it has onboarded ex-director of the financial crimes enforcement network Robert Werner as its general counsel.

With the addition of Werner, the Geneva-incorporated Libra Association will capitalize on his immense experience from both the public and private sectors in the regulatory, financial compliance and enforcement section. In the past, he served as the director for the Finance Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and was senior executive at global financial institutions such as HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.  

His sea of experience doesn’t end there. Werner is also the founder and former CEO of GRH Consulting and served as the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in addition to being senior counsel to The Under Secretary of The Treasury.

“I have dedicated my career to combating financial crime and helping complex organizations achieve regulatory compliance, both in government and in the private sector,” said Werner. 

“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 look forward to meaningfully contributing to such an impactful project.”

Werner is hardly the only former government worker Libra hired. On May 6, as reported by TechMeru, the Libra Association announced former undersecretary for terrorism to president Barack Obama, Stuart Levey as its first CEO.

Both the new hires seem to be a part of its ongoing strategy to reconcile with regulators who have been skeptical of Facebook’s crypto since the get-go. 

Libra association is bullish about the crypto despite regulatory pushback 

The plethora of roadblocks it faced was not going to stop the Libra Association from pursuing its goals. Recently, the company made various announcements which is testimony that the firm is committed to launch the crypto.  

On April 16 the Libra Association initiated the payment system licensing process with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, a move deemed as “an important milestone as [it] moves to a more operational phase of the project,” the firm said. 

Furthermore, the Libra Association released an updated white paper which states that the original concept of a stablecoin linked to a host of fiat currencies will be altered to a number of stablecoins representing a different fiat currency. This decision was made to reduce the ongoing regulatory repercussions for the firm.

While the criticism from regulators resulted in players in the likes of Mastercard, Visa and Paypal dropping out of its network, the company announced a week ago that it added three new members including notable firms namely Singapore investor Temasek, and VC firms Slow Ventures and Paradigm.

Looking at its endeavours, time will tell whether Libra can become a threat to Bitcoin and replace its position.