Surprise, Surprise: MF Global Was Playing Accounting Games With Its Debt Levels

Jon Corzine MFJon Corzine

Photo: Flickr

Now you see it. Now you don’t.That’s how the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Rapoport describes MF Global’s debt balance during the course of each of the last seven quarters.

According to Rapoport, MF Global’s debt would shrink as the end of the quarter neared.  This arguably understated the debt number that would be published on quarterly balance sheets.

Just how big were these mysterious fluctuations?  Here’s an excerpt from the story:

The Journal analysis shows that MF Global consistently had short-term borrowings that were much lower at the ends of its fiscal quarters than its average and peak levels for the full quarters…In each of the past seven quarters, from late 2009 to mid-2011, MF Global’s quarter-end borrowings were an average 16% lower than the quarterly average, according to the Journal’s analysis. The quarter-end numbers were lower than the peak for each quarter by an average of 24%, according to the analysis.

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