According to the New York Times, Ex-MF Global Chairman and CEO Jon S. Corzine has reached a tentative agreement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the regulator’s civil case against him. The CFTC sued him 2013 after MF Global failed and the futures brokerage firm was accused of misusing $1B in customer funds.
Corzine, 69, used to be the governor of New Jersey, a Democratic US Senator, and the co-chief of Goldman Sachs (GS). Although the settlement is not yet final, sources tell the NY Times that Corzine could be expected to pay up to $5M in penalties, which is a lot more than what the CFTC could win against him at trial. The regulator would like Corzine to pay the penalties out of his own fund and not use insurance money. He also would be expected to accept a lifelong ban from trading other people’s funds in the futures industry.
Corzine has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing related to the MF Global financial debacle. Although the CFTC has not said that Corzine was directly connected to the misuse of funds at the brokerage firm, the regulator felt that he failed to “diligently supervise” the firm as it placed clients’accounts in peril.
MF Global went into a financial tailspin after Corzine made a $6.3B bet on European sovereign debt. Rather than restore the brokerage firm to profitability, the firm began to fail and the improper transfer of customer monies increased as executives sought to enhance liquidity. MF Global was eventually liquidated in bankruptcy.
This past July, a $132M settlement was reached resolving most of the litigation brought by investors and targeting Corzine and other MF Global executives. The settlement, said trustee Nader Tavakoli, solidified a “full recovery for customers” and a substantial one for creditors.
In July 2015, Corzine and other ex-MF Global Holdings LTD officials settled for $64.5M with investors seeking to hold them liable for the brokerage firm’s bankruptcy. The Canadian province of Alberta and the Virginia Retirement System were among the investor plaintiffs. Corzine and the other defendants, including ex-CFOs Henri Steenkamp and J. Randy MacDonald, as well seven ex-independent directors denied wrongdoing. The settlements were paid by insurers.
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Former NJ Governor Jon Corzine Nears CFTC $5M Settlement, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2016
5 Years Later, Jon Corzine May Avoid Trial With $5M Settlement, NY Times, October 6, 2016