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Switzerland: Libra regulator says Facebook hasn’t reached out

 |  July 17, 2019

The Swiss regulator that Facebook claimed will oversee its cryptocurrency hasn’t heard from the social media giant, according to a report by CNBC.

David Marcus, who is heading up the Libra project for Facebook, testified in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, July 16, and said, “For the purposes of data and privacy protections, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) will be the Libra Association’s privacy regulator.”

However, when the FDPIC was asked about its involvement, spokesperson Hugo Wyler said that he, like everyone else, was keeping track of Marcus’ comments through the media.

“We have taken note of the statements made by David Marcus, chief of Calibra, on our potential role as data protection supervisory authority in the Libra context. Until today, we have not been contacted by the promoters of Libra,” Wyler said. “We expect Facebook or its promoters to provide us with concrete information when the time comes. Only then will we be able to examine the extent to which our legal advisory and supervisory competence is given. In any case, we are following the development of the project in the public debate.”

Libra has already faced stiff scrutiny from regulators and policymakers all over the world. Both US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have expressed “serious concerns” about the proposed cryptocurrency, citing issues related to money laundering, stability, and regulation.

Many in the Senate Banking Committee talked about privacy concerns as well.

Marcus said the FDPIC would handle privacy concerns, and that the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA) would regulate it financially. FINMA told CNBC that it had been in contact with people from the Libra project.

Marcus also said the Libra Association was going to be headquartered in Switzerland “not to evade any responsibilities of oversight,” but because that’s where other international financial groups are headquartered, like the Bank for International Settlements.

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