The New York Post reports that there will be no criminal charges against Jon Corzine over the billion dollars of customer money used to keep MF Global afloat for a few extra days. The Post quotes “federal investigators” as saying there is no evidence of lawbreaking. Some of the evidence is detailed in the complaint filed by the CFTC recently, which you can read here.
The complaint says what happened to the money. It says that Edith O’Brien took the money out of customer accounts, knowing that this was unlawful. ¶ 62(d) For months, these federal investigators were saying that the big problem was foul-ups and mistakes in a mad rush in the back office. That is now inoperative.
The Complaint explains that Corzine knew that the firm was “undersegregated”, meaning it was using for its own business money belonging to customers that the law requires to be segregated. The Complaint says that on Thursday, October 27, 2011 Corzine and O’Brien received documents showing that the firm was undersegregated. ¶ 63(f)
Actually, the true customer segregated balances were even lower than reflected on the documents sent to Corzine and O’Brien, because $415 million in wire transfers from customer segregated accounts had not been properly recorded on Wednesday, which meant that MF Global’s customer segregated accounts, in fact, were under-segregated by more than $298 million. ¶63(f)
The complaint says that the firm filed false segregated funds reports with the CFTC on Friday, October 28, but it doesn’t say who signed off on the reports. Early in that day, Corzine told O’Brien to pay off $134 million in overdrafts to JPMorgan, MF Global’s lender. O’Brien made the payment by transferring money from customer accounts at JPMorgan to a proprietary account at JPMorgan, and then transferring the money from the proprietary account to pay JPMorgan. The Chief Risk Officer at JPMorgan told Corzine that this had happened, and asked for assurances that it was legal. O’Brien responded to an inquiry by Corzine by showing the second transaction. ¶64(k). Corzine didn’t ask where the money came from and didn’t do anything else about it. The Complaint says that:
Corzine also failed to halt multiple subsequent transfers of funds from customer segregated accounts that were made for proprietary purposes. Corzine failed to implement any controls or take any steps to ensure that customer segregated funds were not and would not be unlawfully used. ¶64q
And then there’s this:
Corzine knew on Friday morning that MF Global had transferred $175 million to MFGUK even though he thought MF Global had immediate access to only $82 million in proprietary cash. He further learned from JPM shortly before 2:00 p.m. ET on Friday that the funds were used to pay the overdraft referred to in paragraph 64 above and were in fact transferred from a customer segregated account.
I’m sure there is some reasonable explanation as to why responsible officials do not think any crime was committed. Perhaps I have misread the facts, or maybe whatever happened doesn’t constitute a crime, or something else. Somebody who knows should come forward and provide that explanation. It isn’t enough to send a couple of “federal investigators” out to leak this story.
Where is Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York?
Where is Eric Holder, the Attorney General?
Where are Gary Gensler and Bart Chilton, two CFTC commissioners?
If this isn’t a crime, then you need to say why and suggest statutory amendments. If you stay silent, people will just assume you are part of Wall Street corruption.
Photo by Tony the Misfit under Creative Commons license