Jon Corzine will apologize for his role in the collapse of brokerage firm MF Global in testimony before a congressional committee Thursday, but insist he has no idea what happened to hundreds of millions of dollars in missing funds.
Corzine, a former senator and governor from New Jersey, was subpoenaed to appear before the U.S. House of Representative’s Agriculture Committee, which is looking into MF Global's demise in October.
The firm filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31 after placing $6.3 billion worth of bets, reportedly under the direct orders of Corzine himself, on European sovereign debt.
An estimated $1.2 billion in client funds is still missing more than a month after the bankruptcy filing.
Corzine was widely expected to remain silent for much of today's grilling, invoking his 5th amendment right not to incriminate himself. But in a 21-page statement released ahead of his testimony he apologized “to all those affected,” and indicated he would answer the committee members' questions.
“Considering the circumstances, many people in my situation would almost certainly invoke their constitutional right to remain silent – a fundamental right that exists for the purpose of protecting the innocent. Nonetheless, as a former United States Senator who recognizes the importance of congressional oversight, and recognizing my position as former chief executive officer in these terrible circumstances, I believe it is appropriate that I attempt to respond to your inquiries,” he said in his statement.
Corzine, who has not appeared publicly since MF Global filed for bankruptcy, also said he doesn’t know where the missing funds are: “I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date. I do not know which accounts are unreconciled or whether the unreconciled accounts were or were not subject to the segregation rules.”
It is an astonishing reversal of fortune for Corzine, a former co-head of Goldman Sachs and once considered a potential successor to Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary.
The committee will undoubtedly ask some hard question, such as whether Corzine authorized the use of client funds to cover MF Global's bad bets on European debt, a practice barred under U.S. securities law.
Just like his 'pal' Obama, Corzine bilked Millions from Americans. Voters need to remember this come November of 2012!