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November 16, 2012

House panel: Corzine takes most blame on MF Global

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A House panel says credit rating agencies and federal regulators contributed to MF Global's collapse last year. But it pinned most of the blame on ex-CEO Jon Corzine.

The report issued Thursday by the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations subcommittee found Corzine's risky strategies caused the brokerage firm's failure. That largely reiterated a statement released Wednesday by the committee's Republicans.

Democrats on the panel did not endorse the report's findings.

MF Global sought bankruptcy protection in 2011, the eighth largest in U.S. history. More than $1 billion in customer money went missing. Corzine, a former U.S. senator and governor of New Jersey, stepped down as CEO in November 2011.

Still, the House panel said in its report that rating agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's failed to identify the biggest risk: MF Global's $6.3 billion bet on European countries' debt.

And it noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission failed to share important information about the firm. The two regulators have oversight authority for MF Global.

The SEC disagreed with the report, noting that it had shared a request for MF Global to increase its capital cushion against losses with the CFTC in August 2011.

The report also said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York fell short of properly assessing the firm's level of risk before allowing it to join an elite group of firms that help the government sell Treasury securities.





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