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MF Global Judge Nixes Customer Group's Bid to Depose Corzine
A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by former MF Global customers to depose the collapsed brokerage's former chief, Jon Corzine.
In a written ruling in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Judge Martin Glenn said the Commodity Customer Coalition, which had sought permission to question Corzine and other former MF Global insiders, lacked standing because it is not a direct creditor in the case.
The coalition, a grassroots group led by Chicago-based commodities trader James Koutoulas, bills itself as representing the interests of thousands of traders whose accounts at MF Global were frozen when the company went under. But the coalition itself is merely a "'watchdog' entity with its own independent goals," hoping to depose Corzine "in furtherance of its own interests" rather than those of the MF Global estate, Glenn said in his decision.
Koutoulas, reached by phone on Tuesday, dismissed that reasoning as "the most minute technicality imaginable. I could have filed 10,000 versions of the motion, one on behalf of each customer we represent," Koutoulas said, adding that the coalition is considering appealing the decision.
Most commodities customers have recovered about 80 percent of the value of their accounts through payouts by James Giddens, the trustee in charge of finding as much of the money as possible and liquidating MF's broker-dealer unit.
The coalition has said Corzine should face criminal charges for his role in the company's fall, though the exact nature of that role has been unclear. Many officials, including the Department of Justice and the FBI, have been investigating the case and have spoken to MF Global executives.
The coalition in November sought permission to depose Corzine, Chief Financial Officer Henri Steenkamp, former Chief Operating Officer Bradley Abelow, General Counsel Laurie Ferber, former Treasurer Edith O'Brien, and Christine Serwinski, former finance chief at MF's North American brokerage.
Corzine congressional testimony:
Reaction from Bob Knight that Corzine will not go to prison.
Adult version. Profanity warning.
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