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FinCEN hires Michele Korver as first ‘chief digital currency advisor’

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The top U.S. anti-money laundering agency has appointed its first ever chief digital currency advisor. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced its newest member, Michele Korver, who joins the federal agency after a run at the Justice Department where she was instrumental in shaping some of today’s most critical digital currency policies.

“Michele brings a wealth of digital currency expertise, and will be a tremendous leader in coordinated efforts to maximize FinCEN’s contribution to the innovative potential for financial expansion of opportunity while minimizing illicit finance risk,” FinCEN Acting Director Michael Mosier said in a statement.

In her new role, Korver will devise and improve on FinCEN’s solutions to prevent and mitigate illicit financial practices and exploitation. This role is now even more critical to the agency as it focuses on the digital currency industry. In its “Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism National Priorities,” FinCEN named the misuse of digital currencies as a national priority.

Korver brings a lot of experience, both in digital currency-related issues and beyond. Before joining FinCEN, she worked with the Justice Department as its digital currency counsel for its Criminal Division. In this role, she advised government attorneys and federal agents on digital currency matters, assisting them in charging decisions and other prosecutorial strategies.

While she hasn’t worked with FinCEN before, she served as an advisor to the Treasury Department and was among the U.S. delegates to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). She played a big role in developing digital currency seizure and forfeiture policy and legislation.

In her work with DoJ, Korver told another media outlet that she coordinated with other departments as well, including Homeland Security and private technology companies. She was critical in operations that brought down international mafias that relied on digital currencies to move funds. They include the Italian Mafia Brussels Drug Trafficking Organization (IMB) which was dismantled by a prosecutorial team led by Michele.

The University of Miami-educated lawyer also led the first digital currency money laundering case in the Central District of California.

Korver has held on to her belief that while digital currencies have offered a “unique money laundering tool,” the government is best served by learning how to outsmart the criminals and not banning digital currencies. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf,” she stated in a paper looking at digital currency money laundering earlier this year.

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