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Former DOJ official Jai Ramaswamy joins crypto payments startup Celo Labs

Image: Celo Labs

Tue, 26 Nov 2019, 12:22 pm UTC

Crypto payments startup Celo Labs has appointed former U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) official and bank executive to lead its global regulatory, risk and compliance areas, CoinDesk reported.

The firm is poised to benefit from Jai Ramaswamy’s intensive experience in detecting anti-money-laundering (AML) and financial crime.

Ramaswamy recently served as the head of enterprise risk management at Capital One and, prior to that, he was managing director and global head of AML compliance risk management at Bank of America.

Before that, he served as the chief of asset forfeiture and money laundering at the DOJ and was responsible for the prosecution of financial institutions engaging in money laundering activities and violating sanctions. Ramaswamy has also led the department’s efforts focused on monitoring the use of cryptocurrencies by transnational criminal organizations and prosecuting the facilitation of illicit activities by exchanges.

Ramaswamy said that he wants to help Celo Labs understand its overall risk profile as well as the approach of the DOJ and other U.S. financial regulators in tackling financial crime.

“The industry is trying to figure out how to deal with this technology in ways that traditional regulation has potentially not thought about or where principles have to be extended in areas that are somewhat novel,” he said. "There’s always a give and take in extending rules that exist over new tech versus thinking through a new regulation that‘s required.

Officially announced in June 2018, Celo aims to remove the barriers for large-scale adoption of cryptocurrencies as means-of-payment. Circle’s former head of financial institution partnerships Chuck Kimble and former Ripple general counsel Brynly Llyr have also joined the firm this year. In April, Celo raised $25 million from A16Z Crypto and Polychain Capital.

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