Libra Association New General Counsel Is Former US Treasury Exec

UK’s Joins Libra Association

A former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and late Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. has been named general counsel to the Libra Association, a Geneva-based group founded by Facebook to launch the social media company’s digital currency, the organization announced Tuesday (May 19).

Robert Werner brings regulatory, financial crime compliance and enforcement experience from his work in the public and private sectors, Libra said. Before joining the association, Werner was founder and CEO of Green River Hollow Consulting and held leadership positions at several financial institutions, including HSBC and Goldman Sachs, where he served as the enterprise executive for policy, privacy and regulatory relations. He also headed financial crime compliance for Merrill Lynch.

Previously, Werner worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, senior counsel to 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, Libra said.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Before his roles in Treasury, Werner was an attorney advisor in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Libra said. He also served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut and has worked in a private law firm.

Libra, a 24-member independent organization, which includes companies and nonprofits, was formed last year by Facebook to enable its version of a global payment system.

Earlier this month, PYMNTS reported Libra named Stuart Levey as the organization’s first CEO.

Last fall, PYMNTS reported that Libra petitioned the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) for a Swiss payment system license for its planned cryptocurrency. Last month, FINMA said it had received an application for a payment system license from Libra and a decision is expected this year.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.