Calibra, a digital currency wallet built by Facebook, is beefing up its compliance team as the company tries to convince U.S. and European regulators that the social media giant’s Libra project poses no legal threat. Now it’s bringing that conviction to the fore by hiring for a new compliance team to manage the many legal pitfalls it will face.
For example, the company is looking for a specialist that will “lead the identification and analysis of our regulatory requirement and create policies, procedures and controls to ensure Calibra is fully compliant with all Sanctions requirements.” The job posting appeared on Facebook’s career website overnight.
The sanctions lead will be working with Calibra’s legal and policy teams, interact with Facebook’s partners as well as the government agencies and regulators to ensure the product complies with worldwide requirements.
Facebook is also looking for additional brainpower to enforce Calibra’s general legal compliance efforts. One posting, for a Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) leader, calls for a skilled banking executive to ensure Calibra’s policies “are designed to comply with BSA/AML related laws and regulations globally.”
Other related jobs currently open include head of compliance and a head of fraud. The career website is currently listing 27 jobs at Calibra alone, among the 47 jobs related to Facebook’s blockchain work.
All of these new hires aims to help Facebook engender trust in its system. The Libra project, announced earlier this summer with support from the world’s leading financial organizations, raised concerns worldwide. Congress grilled the project’s head David Marcus during two hearings, citing concerns for the project’s implications for the U.S. monetary system. They were also concerned with fraud prevention, and data privacy.
An anti-trust investigation into Calibra in the European Union did not make matters easier for Facebook. As now both the U.S. and E.U. authorities are concerned with the project’s scale and consequences, two out of 28 members of the Libra Association told FT they wanted out.
Facebook is also strengthening its lobbying efforts. As reported Tuesday morning, Facebook hired Washington D.C.-based lobbyist John Collins, previously the head of policy at Coinbase, to work on “issues related to blockchain policy.”
Earlier in August, Facebook also hired Susan Zook of Mason Street Consulting, who previously worked as an aid to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). Crapo chaired the Senate hearing dedicated to Libra on July 16.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his administration appear to be leveraging tax revenue and cryptocurrencies as part of a broader effort to evade economic sanctions, an investigation by Spanish newspaper ABC has found.
As detailed in a story published Monday, the newspaper asserts it uncovered a scheme by which Maduro and his associates were using a digital wallet app to turn tax revenue from domestic airports into bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that were then transferred to exchanges in Hong Kong, Hungary, Russia and China.
There, the funds were converted and sent back to Venezuela, according to the report.
The effort is the latest example of how the ban on Maduro’s government from using US bank accounts and from participating in the open international market has forced it to look at cryptocurrencies as a way to obtain dollars.
The newspaper alleges that the tax revenue in question came from the Maiquetia International Airport (IAIM) located near Caracas, the country’s capital, and that taxes were collected through an automated system that works with an app called Jetman Pay.
Maduro’s administration is said to be in talks to expand its use of the app, including for proceeds it collects from refueling airplane that traffic the airport.
In a contract – allegedly yet to be signed – the Jetman Pay app would be used to directly defy the U.S. ban again. Under the scheme, a plane would land at IAIM, at which point it would transfer fiat currencies in exchange for fuel. Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A, the state’s oil and natural gas company, would then use the app to pay government taxes, upon which it would be sent abroad as cryptocurrency.
The automated system has been used at IAIM since February 2018 for airport tax collection.
The report concluded by speculating that Maduro may be looking to expand the scheme to other airports across the country.