Facebook met UK regulators ‘three times’ before announcing Libra

Representatives from Facebook met with U.K. regulators on three separate occasions prior to announcing their plans for the Libra stablecoin, according to reports appearing in Reuters.

Courtesy of a Freedom of Information request, Reuters learned Facebook had met with the Bank of England, the Treasury and regulatory officials before going public with its planned launch. The reports point to the efforts made by Facebook to secure regulatory backing for its plans before they were announced in June, with the firm keen to win over regulators to its plans.

Since being unveiled, Libra has met with stiff opposition from politicians and regulators in Europe, the United States and beyond, with many citing risks to the global financial system from the cryptocurrency, as well as risks of money laundering.

Critics include the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, who has cautioned about the risks of the stablecoin, as well as U.K. regulators noting the need for more information about the project before it can receive their blessing.

According to the FOI requests, Facebook met with a junior government minister on April 23, before meeting with representatives from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.’s chief financial regulator, the following day.

Further meetings, including with the Bank of England, took place in May, with Facebook challenged to meet five tests through its plans—redacted in emails seen by the news outlet.

Nevertheless, the reports show a willingness from Facebook to satisfy regulators in the U.K., at the same time as holding parallel conversations with authorities, regulators and politicians elsewhere across Europe and beyond.

A spokesperson for Facebook said working closely with regulators was a key part of Libra’s plans ahead of its international launch.

Engaging with regulators, policymakers, and experts is critical to Libra’s success. This was the whole reason that Facebook along with other members of the Libra Association shared our plans early.

Facebook has not yet commented on whether it intends to seek regulatory approval for the plans in London, and last week applied for registration in Switzerland as a licensed payments system.

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