CNBC has a statement from a spokesperson for Jon Corzine.According to CNBC:
“Corzine asked for JPMorgan overdraft to be corrected, but never gave any instructions to misuse customer funds.”
“Corzine not told client funds were used to cover overdraft, recalls being told funds used to cover overdraft were appropriate.”
A memo from Congressional investigators looking into the collapse of MF Global and the $1.6 billion in missing customer funds has revealed that the brokerage’s former CEO Jon Corzine ordered $200 million to be transferred from a customer account to pay off an overdraft fee, according to Bloomberg.
The memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg, cites an email sent by Edith O’Brien—MF Global’s treasurer—three days before the firm filed for bankruptcy. In the email, O’Brien writes the transfer was “per JC’s direct instructions.”
The $200 million overdraft fee was paid to JP Morgan because MF Global had overdrawn one of its accounts and it was “holding up vital business in the U.S.,” MF Global Holdings Treasurer Vinay Mahajan had said in an Oct. 28th email.
MF Global filed for bankruptcy Oct. 31, after negotiations to sell itself to Interactive Brokers fell apart as a result of the discovery of a shortfall in customer segregated funds.
This bombshell may have huge implications for Corzine. Remember that a sacred rule in brokerages is that customer funds must be strictly segregated from the firm’s money. Breaking such a rule on purpose could mean criminal charges. Before MF Global fell, Corzine was a prominent figure in finance and politics, serving as CEO of Goldman Sachs in the ’90s and a Democratic senator and governor of New Jersey after that.
Bloomberg is also reporting that JP Morgan’s Chief Risk Officer Barry Zubrow had called Corzine after the money was transferred to make sure that it was in compliance with those customer segregation rules. In reply, MF Global had drafted a letter to be signed by O’Brien to be sent to JPM, but it was never sent.
Last December, Corzine testified three times in Congress and reitered the fact that he does not “recall” ordering customer funds to used or moved.
The chain of emails sent with O’Brien participation regarding $200 million being transferred to JP Morgan was first reported by DealBook last December, but did not mention any content about Corzine directly ordering transfers of customer funds.