After he was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the collapse of MF Global, the futures brokerage's former CEO mulled launching a hedge fund. But Jon Corzine now faces civil charges that could keep him from doing so.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission yesterday filed suit against the former New Jersey governor and senator, accusing him of negligence in running MF Global, which went into bankruptcy in 2011 after more than $1 billion in client money went missing. The regulator wants Corzine, who is also a former Goldman Sachs chief, barred from the financial industry.
The CFTC suit alleges that Corzine failed to supervise MF Global's officers, employees and agents. "He held and exercised direct or indirect control over MF Global and Holdings and either did not act in good faith or knowingly induced these violations," the CFTC said in its complaint, which also names former MF Global Assistant Treasurer Edith O'Brien.
For its part, MF Global itself settled the CFTC charges, agreeing to pay $1 billion in restitution and $100 million in fines.
"This unprecedented lawsuit based on meritless allegations that Mr. Corzine failed to supervise an experienced back-office professional who was located in a different city and who did not report to Mr. Corzine or even to anyone who reported to Mr. Corzine," Corzine's lawyer, Andrew Levander, said, referring to O'Brien. "No evidence has been found that contradicts Mr. Corzine's sworn testimony before Congress."
The CFTC is seeking disgorgement and penalties from Corzine in addition to the trading ban.