Jon Corzine was not amused to see Fox News’ Charlie Gasparino when he walked into uptown eatery Elio’s this week. A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by former MF Global chief exec Corzine to dismiss investor litigation seeking to hold him responsible for the firm’s collapse. So when Corzine later walked into Elio’s and spied Gasparino, who’s repeatedly hammered him on-air, dining with Stocktwits’ Howard Lindzon, a spy said, “Corzine’s lip went up like the growl of a rabid dog.” [NYP]
Sight Of Most Famous And Feared Reporter In The World Put Area Ex-CEO On The Defensive, Totally Anonymous Tipster With Random Interest In Relationship Between Wall Street And The Media Tells Page SixBy Bess Levin
When Jon Corzine Wasn’t Masterminding A High-Level Scam At MF Global, He Was Twirling A Handlebar Mustache With One Hand And Stroking A White Cat With The Other: Litigation TrusteeBy Bess Levin
Point: Jon Corzine acted in good faith while at the helm of MF Global, accept it, move on, show’s over, nothing else to see here, this man is a saint, god why are you so obsessed with him? Counterpoint: Oh, he was a saint alright. The Patron Saint of Plot Hatching and Unauthorized Cash Transfers. Read more »
If Charlie Gasparino And The Fox Business Police Were In Charge, Jon Corzine Would’ve Been Nailed Years AgoBy Bess Levin
As you may have heard, earlier today the Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged Jon Stevens Corzine for (allegedly!) misusing nearly $1 billion in customer funds at MF Global. According to the CFTC, this was able to happen in large part because JSC “did not enhance MF Global’s deficient systems and controls sufficiently to ensure that the firm’s increasing reliance on FCM cash did not result in unlawful uses of customer money.” This pissed off Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino for two reasons, both of which he shared with CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton this afternoon:
1. He wrote about MF Global’s insufficient controls two years ago, ergo, the CFTC could’ve and should’ve brought the charges against Corzine way back then, instead of dragging its ass. In fact, Chaz says that on his watch, we would’ve seen action within one week’s time.
2. No fraud charges? What’s that about? Add it to the list of things CG would get done in his capacity as Senior Kicker of Ass and Taker Of Names. Read more »
The thing is that when you run a brokerage company and it goes and loses $1bn of customer money, the CFTC really ought to charge you with “fail[ing] to supervise diligently the activities of [your] officers, employees, and agents,” no? At least? There are various views of Jon Corzine’s role in MF Global’s efforts to misplace a billion dollars – did he intentionally misuse customer funds? was he aggressive but above-board? just confused? – but no one is going around saying “oh, yeah, Corzine was really on the ball there protecting customer money.” You’re just irreducibly not supposed to lose a billion dollars in customer money, and if you do, “failure to supervise diligently” is pretty much the kindest possible description.
Anyway here is the CFTC press release and complaint against Corzine and Edith O’Brien, the MF Global assistant treasurer and general fall guy. There have been approximately eight thousand lengthy blow-by-blows of the MF Global implosion by now, and I would understand if you didn’t want to read this one; I sure didn’t. Unlike the others, though, the CFTC complaint is enlivened by recorded telephone conversations. In which Edith O’Brien does not come off well: Read more »
Stephen Friedman, who preceded Corzine as Goldman CEO and whose tenure as New York Fed chairman was prematurely ended by the somewhat unsettling sight of said New York Fed pouring bailout money into Goldman’s maw as he worked for both, has reached mandatory retirement age. Read more »
MF Global Report Shows Limits Of The “Just Write All Your Positions On Post-Its” Method Of Risk ManagementBy Matt Levine
There’s a new report out today describing how MF Global blew up, which is not to be confused with the other two reports describing how MF Global blew up, and really enough is enough. If you’re interested in how MF Global blew up, basically Jon Corzine decided to put all its money into ultimately-not-all-that-horrible peripheral European sovereign bonds with repo-to-maturity funding, and the markets moved against him and he faced huge margin calls, and MF Global couldn’t meet those margin calls and went kaput, and at some point between the margin calls and the kaput MF Global seems to have used some client money to meet the margin calls, and that was a no-no, etc. Read more here or here or here or in the report.1
Still the report does have fun new details about just what a mess MF Global was. This one may have boggled me the most:
The Company’s efforts to sell its Euro RTM portfolio suffered a setback when Abelow brought a representative of the investment bank Jefferies & Company (“Jefferies”) to meet with Corzine to discuss selling the portfolio. Corzine refused to meet with the representative because he was in the process of auctioning some commercial paper, and needed to complete the sales before the close of the London market. Consequently, no sale of the Euro RTMs was discussed with Jefferies at this time.
This was on October 26, a day before the downgrade that ultimately sparked MF Global’s October 31 bankruptcy. I am trying and failing to imagine another financial company CEO missing his last chance to sell off a position in the bond trading book because he was too busy pricing a CP deal. Most financial companies have, y’know, treasury departments to sell their CP, and bond traders to trade their bonds.
Also on October 26, this happened: Read more »