U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. today named James H. Freis, Jr. as the new Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department. Freis currently serves as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement & Intelligence.
"Jim brings leadership, financial expertise and international experience that will serve our nation well as Director of FinCEN. I am pleased that he will take over and lead FinCEN's critical efforts to safeguard the financial sector from illicit activity. Over the past two years at Treasury, Jim has contributed greatly to Treasury's efforts to protect the country against terrorist financiers, money launderers, and other criminals who abuse the financial system," said Paulson.
As Deputy Assistant General Counsel, Freis provides legal support to Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, including supervising the legal counsel to FinCEN, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture. He is also responsible for developing international financial measures against rogue states.
Before coming to Treasury, Freis served as Senior Counsel in the Legal Service of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, where he supported the banking and risk control departments in providing financial services to central banks and international organizations for management of monetary reserves. He also had regular interaction with the Basel-based committees of experts setting international financial standards. He previously served in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's legal department, where he advised on payment and settlement systems issues at wholesale and retail levels, administration of foreign government and central bank accounts, and legislative and regulatory reform. He was part of the successful defense of the Bank before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague with respect to the management of Iranian funds during the hostage crisis. Freis also spent one year working in the financial sector in Germany.
Freis earned his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and his bachelors degree from Georgetown University, graduating with honors from each institution. He is an attorney-at-law and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder. Freis currently resides in Washington, DC with his wife and two children.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is a bureau within the Treasury Department charged with safeguarding the financial system from money laundering and other illicit financial activity through the administration of the Bank Secrecy Act. FinCEN supports the law enforcement and intelligence communities, as well as the regulatory agencies, through the sharing and analysis of financial intelligence.
Freis replaces Robert Werner, who departed FinCEN in December 2006 to pursue a career in the private sector.