Senior DOJ Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement Lawyer Joins Paul Hastings, Further Energizing Investigations and Fintech Growth

March 07, 2022

Washington, D.C.—Paul Hastings LLP, an elite global law firm, announced today that senior Department of Justice (DOJ) anti-money laundering enforcement lawyer Leo Tsao has joined the firm as a partner in the Investigations & White Collar Defense and Fintech & Payments practices, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Mr. Tsao held a number of senior positions at the DOJ, including as the Principal Deputy Chief of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) and as an Assistant Chief in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit in the Fraud Section. His arrival adds further momentum to the strong growth of the firm’s leading Investigations and Fintech practices, following the recent addition of partners Laurel Loomis Rimon, Allyson Baker, and Meredith Boylan.

“Anti-money laundering (AML) compliance and related bank regulatory issues are top concerns for our financial services clients—and they want to ensure they have the best legal advisors helping them assess and manage risks for the complex operations critical to their business,” said Seth Zachary, Chairman of Paul Hastings. “With his deep DOJ policy development and enforcement experience, as well as his extensive AML and regulatory expertise, Leo is a tremendous addition to our global Investigations and Fintech practices.”

“Paul Hastings has an outstanding growth story, both as one of the premier law firms handling complex investigations for global companies and as one of the most successful firms over the past several decades,” said Mr. Tsao. “The firm’s Investigations and Fintech practices are unparalleled, and I am excited to work with my new colleagues to continue to elevate those practices.”

Mr. Tsao draws on his deep government experience to guide clients through criminal, civil, and regulatory threats and challenges. Through his leadership positions in MLARS and the Fraud Section, he has led or supervised many of the DOJ’s most significant white-collar cases involving corporate and financial crimes. These matters often involved close coordination with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Federal Reserve Board, among other regulators, and Mr. Tsao has also worked closely with foreign law enforcement and regulatory authorities from around the world.

Most recently, Mr. Tsao was the Principal Deputy Chief of MLARS, where he managed global investigations involving enforcement of the anti-money laundering and economic sanctions laws, and had supervisory authority over every Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and money-laundering corporate resolution with every type of financial institution. Mr. Tsao was also very active in the DOJ’s enforcement efforts involving cryptocurrency crimes, including helping to prepare the Attorney General’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework. Prior to joining MLARS, Mr. Tsao spent three years as an Assistant Chief in the DOJ’s FCPA Unit, where he led and supervised teams of prosecutors and agents investigating violations of the FCPA and related crimes.

Mr. Tsao’s expertise spans global investigations involving a wide range of white-collar crimes, including the BSA, money laundering, economic sanctions, and FCPA violations. He has particular expertise in the developing application of criminal laws to the areas of cryptocurrency and FinTech business operations.

Paul Hastings’ Investigations & White Collar Defense practice brings together senior defense lawyers and former enforcement attorneys from the U.S. DOJ, SEC, CFPB, and state attorney general offices, as well as lawyers with extensive in-house experience effectively handling investigations and compliance programs. The practice has played key roles in groundbreaking FCPA settlements over the last decade and handled anti-corruption matters in more than 100 countries around the world. The Paul Hastings team has been named White Collar Department of the Year and Compliance Group of the Year by Law360, as well as the Most Impressive Investigations Practice at the GIR Global Awards. In addition, the practice is ranked in Band 1 for FCPA by Chambers.

Paul Hastings’ global Fintech & Payments practice is a Chambers Band-1 rated fintech (U.S.) practice and includes numerous Chambers-rated fintech partners. It is the recipient of numerous accolades and is viewed as the preeminent fintech practice in the U.S. The global team offers clients unparalleled expertise in fintech, payment systems, bank regulatory, and legislative issues, and represents an array of U.S. and international clients, including both leading global financial institutions and innovative start-ups.

Dedicated to helping clients navigate their most challenging legal issues, significant and complex transactions and most critical disputes, Paul Hastings is a premier global law firm with elite teams in every practice area, jurisdiction and key geography.

Our unmatched client service has helped us become one of the legal profession’s most admired firms, known for a diverse and highly collaborative culture that delivers innovative solutions.

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