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Corzine Said To Have Known About Misuse Of Customer Funds At MF Global

An outsider auditor is apparently telling Senate investigators a different story about what Jon Corzine knew than the former Governor did:

The regulatory arm of CME Group has turned over interviews to the Justice Department that allege former MF Global chief Jon Corzine knew that the now-bankrupt brokerage firm used customer money to lend to a European affiliate, a CME executive said on Tuesday.

The information is fourth-hand but is the strongest statement yet from a regulator that Corzine may have personally known customer funds were diverted for firm use.

Federal investigators are probing why hundreds of millions of dollars in customer funds are missing, and whether the futures brokerage raided customer money to try to counter a liquidity crisis, a major violation of industry rules.

Corzine, who resigned as chief executive of MF Global early last month, has given sworn testimony that he does not know where the money is, but it is unclear if this latest revelation will legally harm him.

CME Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy, testifying to the Senate Agriculture Committee, on Tuesday said a CME auditor participated in a phone call during which an MF Global employee indicated that Corzine knew of the loan.

During an internal CME interview, the auditor also revealed that the loan was for roughly $175 million to a European affiliate of MF Global and was likely made in the last couple of days prior to the firm’s October 31 bankruptcy, Duffy said.

The CME is a front-line regulator for MF Global.

“A CME auditor … participated in a phone call with senior MF Global employees wherein one employee indicated that Mr. Corzine knew about the loans that had been made from the customer segregated accounts,” Duffy said.

A spokesman for Corzine and his lawyer, Andrew Levander, declined comment.

This isn’t definitive proof of wrongdoing, or of perjury for that matter, but it certainly raises some eyebrows. And it makes me wonder again why Corzine testified under oath when he didn’t have to.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. TJM says:

    Why testify when he didn’t need to? It worked for Roger Clemens.

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  2. john personna says:

    As I understand reports, this was written into the customer contracts, that the company may borrow from customer accounts to invest in AAA rated bonds. Of course Corzine knew what he was doing, it was planned from the beginning.

    The description of Corzine as “rogue trader” is appropriate. It wasn’t that he didn’t have rights to take the money, it’s that he took it and blew it.

    That was morally wrong even if the loans were spelled out in the customer agreements.

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  3. john personna says:

    There is a good wrap-up of what the words “pledge, repledge, hypothecate, and re-hypothecate” mean here.

    I suggest “hypothecate” as word of the year, 2011.

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