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David Asher

CSIF Board of Advisors


Dr. David Asher serves on the Board of Advisors of the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dr. Asher is one of the world's most accomplished practitioners in the identification and pursuit of illicit financing and facilitation schemes. Over the last decade, he has advised the leadership of SOCOM, CENTCOM, DEA, and the Departments of Defense, Treasury, State, and Justice on top counter threat finance priorities, including targeting the finances of Hezbollah, Iran, Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIL, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and multiple drug cartels. He personally conceived of and spearheaded several of the highest profile anti-money laundering actions in history, including USA Patriot Act (Section 311) designations of Banco Delta Asia against North Korea (2005), the Lebanese Canadian Bank (2011), and the Halawi and Rmeity exchange houses in Beirut (2013). From 2002-2005, Dr. Asher organized and ran the North Korea Illicit Activities Initiative (IAI) for the National Security Council and the Department of State (where he served as North Korea Working Group Special Coordinator). The IAI was one of the most ambitious and successful global law enforcement and coercive economic efforts in history, producing hundreds of criminal indictments and arrests internationally and immobilizing hundreds of millions of dollars in North Korean external financial assets, while wreaking dissension inside the North Korean regime.

Outside of government, Dr. Asher has over 15 years of experience in and around the international financial community, including working for and advising major hedge funds on activist investing, global macro, and long-short equity, focused on Japan. He currently is a principal with Vital Venture Capital, Chairman of Sayari Analytics, and a member of the Advisory Board of BCA Research. Asher graduated from Cornell University and received his doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford. He is fluent in Japanese.