Trustee hints at lawbreaking in MF Global collapse

April 12, 2012

A trustee probing the collapse of the MF Global brokerage firm said Thursday that “certain responsible individuals” at the firm could be accused of violating the law.

The trustee, James W. Giddens, has concluded that “there are claims he may assert” against insiders at the firm and its parent company, according to a statement issued by his office. The statment did not name any of the suspected offenders.

The claims could include “breach of fiduciary duties” to the firm and its customers and violations of requirements about the handling of customer funds.

MF Global sought bankruptcy protection last year after experiencing the equivalent of a run on the bank. Big bets on European debt contributed to an erosion of confidence in the firm. Giddens has been overseeing its liquidation.

By his account, as much as $1.6 billion of customer money is missing.

The statement issued by the trustee’s office Thursday was described as an update on his investigation.

Various federal authorities have also been investigating the matter.

The firm was led by Jon S. Corzine, who was formerly a Democratic governor of New Jersey, a U.S. senator and the head of Goldman Sachs. Corzine has said he did not instruct anyone to dip into customer funds.

At a recent congressional hearing, a former assistant treasurer invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions.

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