Corzine looks to be getting off easy

October 25, 2012

I was saddened to see the small article inside the Maryland Business section of The Sun sounding the death knell for the investor lawsuit related to the implosion of MF Global and implying the futility of any further pursuit of Jon Corzine, the company's former chairman and CEO ("Corzine, banks push to end MF Global fraud lawsuit," Oct. 23). I fully expect that final absolution of Mr. Corzine will be dragged out for a respectably lengthy period and that we'll finally see a small article somewhere indicating that the tireless efforts of our public servants have come to an end and resulted in his acquittal. One more episode of Wall Street control over the federal government coming to a close.

The collapse of MF Global was the most dramatic financial debacle in decades. I cannot remember a case, where it was so clear cut that one person was responsible for such a disaster. There was the company's surprise bankruptcy over a single weekend, 1,100 employees summarily terminated, $1.5 billion of investor deposits in segregated accounts stolen to pay margin calls and last but not least, the taxpayer-funded unemployment benefits and takeover of pension obligations.

As usual, our public servants could find no fraud (since most are likely hoping to get a job at Mr. Corzine's alma matter, Goldman Sachs, and Mr. Corzine's recommendation will do the trick). We often hear the explanation of how difficult it is to prove fraud in such cases. However, it doesn't take a PhD to see that this was a case of extreme mismanagement, a total abandonment of any reasonable degree of risk management and therefore just plain old neglect of the fiduciary responsibility that accompanies every CEO job. That should make it an easy case to go after Mr. Corzine personally.

This case was a massive, bright explosion on Wall Street, and President Barack Obama and Congress have allowed the flames to slowly die out. No matter who wins the coming election, I doubt Mr. Corzine will lose any sleep, knowing that his hundreds of millions of dollars are safe, secure, and the taxpayers are always happy to take it on the chin. After all, should things drag out longer than expected, he can always throw a couple of underlings under the bus and walk away smiling.

Gary Moyer, Baltimore

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