Gemini snags former Circle compliance head as it expands into UK and Europe

Crypto exchange and custodian Gemini has hired former Circle compliance head, Blair Halliday, as its chief compliance officer and money-laundering reporting officer.

Halliday will oversee Gemini's compliance program in the U.K. and Europe as the firm expands into these regions, according to an announcement Tuesday. Halliday will be based in London and report directly to Gemini's managing director of the U.K. and Europe, Julian Sawyer.

The appointment comes days after the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) went into effect earlier this month. The directive requires crypto firms in the region to comply with know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) procedures.

At Circle, Halliday was head of compliance for the firm's EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region.

Europe is an “emerging region” for Gemini, the firm said. "As we build our team, Gemini is primed for significant growth in Europe this year,” said Sawyer, who joined last month and was formerly COO of Starling Bank.

Gemini's European operations are currently on a waitlist. The firm employs over 250 employees across the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Australia, per Tuesday’s announcement.