Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is set to tell a House committee he has no idea what happened to customer money that went missing when his brokerage firm, MF Global, went bankrupt in October. In testimony prepared for his appearance before the House Agriculture Committee later today, Mr. Corzine said, “I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date.”
Mr. Corzine became Chairman and CEO of MF Global in March of last year. MF Global was already losing money when Mr. Corzine took charge and he attempted to turn things around by making investments in the debt of European governments that eventually proved disastrous. Though regulations require MF Global to keep client funds segregated from company investments, approximately $1.2 billion in customer money is currently unaccounted for. Mr. Corzine resigned as chairman last month.
The House Agriculture Committee is investigating the collapse of MF Global because it regulates agricultural commodities trading. Mr. Corzine was also subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Agriculture Committee next Tuesday.
In his remarks prepared for the House, Mr. Corzine said the final weeks of his firm were filled with “chaotic sleepless nights.” Though he admitted having “overall responsibility for the firm,” Mr. Corzine said he didn’t have hands on involvement in making trades and moving money used for collateral.
“Nor was I an expert on the complicated rules and regulations governing the various different operating businesses that comprised MF Global,” said Mr. Corzine.
Mr. Corzine also said he didn’t have enough time to prepare his testimony and was unable to access records “essential to my being able to testify accurately.” He originally volunteered to testify before the House committee in January, but they turned down his offer and subpoenaed him to come in today. The former governor’s testimony included an apology to those who have lost “many hundreds of millions of dollars” in MF Global’s collapse.
“I sincerely apologize, both personally and on behalf of the company, to our customers, our employees and our investors, who are bearing the brunt of the impact of the firm’s bankruptcy,” Mr. Corzine said.