Banking Legal and IP News

Libra Networks hires former Credit Suisse exec as general counsel

libra

Yesterday the nonprofit Libra Association, which governs the Libra network and blockchain project, announced it appointed Saumya Bhavsar as General Counsel of Libra Networks, its operating subsidiary.

Bhavsar has a 20-year career in financial services focused on compliance, legal, and regulatory affairs. Her most recent role was global Head of Regulatory Affairs at Credit Suisse and before that Head of U.S. Legal at UBS for over ten years. She also spent two years at Euroclear and eight years at the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), part of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

“Along with many in the banking industry, I have been watching the Libra project from afar and believe the Libra payment system is poised to transform the industry and enable unprecedented financial innovation and inclusion at a time when we need it most,” said Bhavsar.

Libra faces some important legal considerations. According to the Libra Network’s most recent White Paper, regulators questioned the networks’ perimeter of control. They were concerned about the possible removal of vital compliance provisions in a permissionless system and hence Libra will remain a permissioned system. While the Libra Association will have to continue to battle at the policy level for the green light to launch its global stablecoin and payment system, it’s likely that Bhavsar’s role will focus more on the compliance implementation side.

Managing Director of Libra Networks, James Emmett said, “Saumya is a strategic leader with demonstrated ability and success in legal, regulatory and operational roles in one of the most highly-regulated industries. I am looking forward to working with Saumya and know that her expertise will be crucial in launching and managing a compliant system.”

Bhavsar is Libra’s third major legal appointment this year. While Bhavsar is with subsidiary Libra Networks, Robert Werner was hired as General Counsel of the Libra Association in May but soon departed. In August, the Association hired Steve Bunnell, as Chief Legal Officer. Bunnell is the former General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


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