Former U.S. Treasury FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. Joins Cleary Gottlieb as Counsel

November 12, 2012

International law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP announced today that James H. Freis, Jr., former Director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), will join the firm as counsel in its Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Freis will join the firm’s international banking and financial institutions practice and will advise on enforcement and regulatory matters.

“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. “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.”

Since 2005, Mr. Freis, 42, has held leadership positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including serving as Director of FinCEN and as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement and Intelligence.

As Director of FinCEN, Mr. Freis led the development and enforcement of regulations combating money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and other financial crimes applicable to a broad range of financial institutions, including banks, securities and futures industry participants, and insurance companies. He also led the recent expansion of these laws to mortgage markets and emerging payment technologies. Mr. Freis also supported U.S. Department of Justice and other federal and state law enforcement investigations and prosecutions related to financial crimes domestically as well as globally through FinCEN’s role as the country’s financial intelligence unit (FIU).

As Deputy Assistant General Counsel at Treasury, Mr. Freis provided legal counsel to Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, including supervising lawyers to FinCEN and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and also served as lead negotiator on behalf of the United States in discussions with foreign governments and private parties on sensitive counter-terrorism and national security matters.

Prior to joining the U.S. Treasury Department, Mr. Freis served from 1999 to 2005 as Senior Counsel to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the international organization of central banks based in Basel, Switzerland, where he counseled on cross-border financial transactions and matters of public international law and supported the Basel-based international financial standard-setting organizations. He served as an attorney at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 1996 to 1999, focusing on banking and financial market regulation and payments issues.

“Cleary Gottlieb’s unsurpassed international reach and its renowned banking and financial institutions practice provide a perfect platform for advising financial institutions on today’s very challenging anti-money laundering and sanctions matters as well as on a broader range of evolving U.S. regulatory issues,” said Mr. Freis. “Having served in a central bank, international financial organization, and finance ministry both as client and counterpart of lawyers from Cleary Gottlieb, I greatly admire the firm’s leading practice counseling sovereign governments and international institutions. I am excited to be joining such a talented group of lawyers and to work with the firm’s diverse and sophisticated clients across the globe.”

About Cleary Gottlieb’s Banking and Financial Institutions Practice

Cleary Gottlieb’s banking and financial institutions practice spans 14 of the firm’s offices in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The practice includes 15 partners and counsel in New York and Washington, D.C. who are experts in financial institutions regulation and enforcement matters. Offering clients around the world advice that is integrated across practices and regions, the group draws on the strength of the firm’s expertise in derivatives, structured products, bank insolvency, executive compensation, securities regulation, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions, and provides financial institutions with advice that takes into account both U.S. and EU legislation as well as developments in Asia and elsewhere.

About Cleary Gottlieb

Founded in 1946 by lawyers committed to legal excellence, internationalism and diversity, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is a leading international law firm with approximately 1,200 lawyers around the world.