BREAKING: Major changes at FinCEN as director departs for job at Citi while new acting chief Michael Mosier joined the watchdog from crytpo firm Chainalysis - AML Intelligence
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BREAKING: Major changes at FinCEN as director departs for job at Citi while new acting chief Michael Mosier joined the watchdog from crytpo firm Chainalysis

By Stephen Rae for AMLi

FinCEN, the U.S. Treasury Department’s AML unit, is getting a new chief as it prepares to enact the sweeping new financial transparency laws.

Former prosecutor Kenneth Blanco (pictured) who has served as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) director since late 2017 is leaving for a job in the private sector next week ( April 9), the Treasury said.

Michael Mosier, a counselor to the Treasury’s deputy secretary, will take over as acting director April 11. Mosier joined FinCEN from crypto firm Chainanalysis.

Blanco is taking up a position at Citigroup as financial crimes chief compliance officer in the next few weeks, the bank confirmed.

FinCEN is preparing to write a complex set of regulations enacting the new Anti-Money-Laundering Reform Act, which was approved by Congress in January as part of the annual Defense Policy Bill.

Acting Director Michael Mosier

New Citi CEO Jane Fraser has made a priority of satisfying regulators and reshaping global operations. In 2020 the bank was fined for what the called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency an ongoing “failure to establish effective risk management and data governance programs and internal controls.”

Citi is building a new Financial Crimes Unit, integrating the anti-money laundering, sanctions and anti-bribery teams, which Blanco will now lead.

In a statement Friday the US Treasury said: “Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Kenneth A. Blanco today announced several leadership changes impacting the bureau. Director Blanco announced he will depart FinCEN on April 9, after serving as the organization’s director since December 2017.

“Michael Mosier, former FinCEN Deputy Director and current Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, will return to FinCEN as Acting Director. AnnaLou Tirol, former Associate Director of FinCEN’s Strategic Operations Division, is serving as FinCEN Deputy Director.

Blanco said: “Serving as FinCEN’s eighth Director has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for me.”

“I am proud to have led an incredible organization with an important national security mission that has a profound effect on the lives of so many people, especially the most vulnerable in our society. I have every confidence in Mr. Mosier and Ms. Tirol’s ability to lead the bureau forward and continue the progress of ensuring our national security and protecting people from harm.”

He added: “Their proven leadership at FinCEN and in other parts of government, combined with their vast relationships across the U.S. government and the national security enterprise, will ensure continuity as FinCEN implements the historic and sweeping Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 while remaining a pacesetter in innovation and industry regulation.”

Mr. Mosier will serve as Acting Director effective April 11, 2021. Mr. Mosier most recently served as Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, a role he assumed last month after serving as FinCEN’s Deputy Director and first Digital Innovation Officer.

He previously worked at the cryptocurrency analytics, compliance, and investigations firm Chainalysis, where he was Chief Technical Counsel. Prior to FinCEN and Chainalysis, Mr. Mosier was an Associate Director at Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Mr. Mosier has also served as a Deputy Chief in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Money Laundering & Asset Recovery Section. He also served a tour at the White House National Security Council as Director for Transnational Organized Crime.

Mr. Mosier began his public service as a prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. He previously worked at a law firm representing technology, media, and financial services clients.

Ms. Tirol is now serving as Deputy Director. In this capacity, she assists in overseeing FinCEN’s wide-ranging work to enhance the national security of the United States. Ms. Tirol joined FinCEN in September 2019, serving as Associate Director of the Strategic Operations Division, where she worked extensively to promote FinCEN’s strategic partnerships with government and private industry stakeholders, both domestically and internationally.

Ms. Tirol came to FinCEN after overseeing DOJ’s Public Integrity Section prosecuting public corruption matters. She began her public service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in San Diego, and has served overseas tours for DOJ in Belgrade, Serbia, focusing on anti-corruption issues, and in Panama City, Panama, focusing on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. Ms. Tirol is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.