Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has added James Freis, Jr., the former director of the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCen, as counsel to its Washington office.
As head of FinCen, Freis, 42, led the development and enforcement of regulations combating money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and other financial crimes. He also previously served as deputy assistant general counsel for enforcement and intelligence at Treasury.
In May, Thomson Reuters reported that Fries was dismissed by Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen after refusing to resign. A banking industry source told Reuters that "Treasury Department leadership had expressed concerns that FinCEN moved too slowly when issuing vital regulations."
Prior to joining the Treasury Department in 2005, Freis served as senior counsel to the Bank for International Settlements, the international organization of central banks based in Basel, Switzerland. Before that, he was an attorney at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 1996 to 1999.
"With more than 10 years of experience serving in the U.S. Treasury and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Jim has deep and broad expertise in financial regulatory and enforcement matters," said Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Leddy in a news release. "As director of FinCEN, he has been the U.S. government's key regulator on anti-money laundering matters for the last five years. Particularly in light of today's challenging enforcement environment, we believe that Jim's expertise and insight will be invaluable for our clients."