In testifying yesterday before the House Committee on Agriculture, Jon Corzine, (photo) former head of failed MF Global — which took customers' funds for its own use when it had financial difficulties because of risky investments — expressed repeatedly his grief over what went wrong with his company, and his sympathy for the “plight” of his customers who lost millions if not billions of their money with its downfall: “Their plight weighs on my mind every day — every hour. And as the chief executive officer of MF Global at the time of its bankruptcy, I apologize to all those affected.”
He then pleaded ignorance: “I was stunned when I was told on Sunday, October 30, 2011, that MF Global could not account for many hundreds of millions of dollars of client money. I remain deeply concerned about the impact that the unreconciled and frozen funds have had on MF Global’s customers and others.” Then Corzine tried to distance himself from the disaster, saying that since he wasn’t involved in the day-to-day operations on the trading floor, he really couldn’t explain how things got so desperately out of hand:
I did not, however, generally involve myself in the mechanics of the clearing and settlement of trades, or in the movement of cash and collateral. Nor was I an expert on the complicated rules and regulations governing the various different operating businesses that comprised MF Global. I had little expertise or experience in those operational aspects of the business....
I simply don’t know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date…. There were an extraordinary number of transactions during MF Global’s last few days…. I am sure that the trustee in bankruptcy … and the regulators are working to answer these questions and to understand precisely what happened.
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