Treasury selects new FinCEN director

FinCEN, IRS must better manage data: GAO

The Treasury Department today named James Freis Jr. the new director of its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. He replaces Robert Werner, who left FinCEN in December 2006 for the private sector.

Freis currently is deputy assistant general counsel for enforcement and intelligence.

FinCEN is charged with safeguarding the financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing through the administration of the Bank Secrecy Act, under which financial institutions and other businesses report suspicious transactions.

“Over the past two years at Treasury, Jim has contributed greatly to Treasury's efforts to protect the country against terrorist financiers, money launderers and other criminals who abuse the financial system,” Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. said in a statement.

Freis has provided legal support to Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, including supervising the legal counsel to FinCEN, the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture. He is also responsible for developing international financial measures against rogue states.

Before coming to Treasury, Freis was senior counsel in the Legal Service of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, where he supported the banking and risk control departments in providing financial services to central banks and international organizations for management of monetary reserves.

He previously worked in the legal department at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he advised on payment and settlement systems issues at wholesale and retail levels, administration of foreign government and central bank accounts, and legislative and regulatory reform. He was part of the successful defense of the bank before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague with respect to the management of Iranian funds during the Iranian hostage crisis, which ended in 1981.

Freis received a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

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