Chicago financial exec criticizes MF Global settlement
January 10th, 2017
Chicago financial executive James Koutoulas is outraged that MF Global CEO Jon Corzine received a wrist-slap settlement of $5 million for losing $1 billion in customer money.
The complicated and controversial MB Global story began in 2011 when the financial company overdrew an account at JPMorgan Chase and then transferred money from customers’ accounts to clear it up.
Koutoulas, CEO of Typhon Capital Management in Chicago, played David fighting Goliath.
He founded the Commodity Customer Coalition and represented 10,000 customers in the bankruptcy pro bono, working about 3,000 hours for free to get back the money his clients lost. Eventually, the many other farmers and retirees who had accounts with MF Global would also got their money back, too.
MF Global went bankrupt. And the courts decided Corzine and his cohorts didn’t intentionally try to steal clients’ money. Last week, Corzine was ordered to pay $5 million as punishment. No jail time.
“If a teen-ager steals a $100-dollar TV from Walmart, they catch him and they get back the TV. But the teenager still goes to jail,” Koutoulas complains about the settlement.
Before leading MF Global, Corzine, an Illinois native, was a U.S. senator and governor of New Jersey. He’s a darling among Democrats, having raised money for President Barack Obama–to the tune of $500,000 in 2012.
Isn’t it curious, Koutoulas says, that a major donor to the president would be fined a measly $5 million for mismanaging $1 billion in client money–while still having a reported $300 million net worth.
“Corzine is Obama’s Marc Rich,” Koutoulas said, referring to the commodities trader and donor to former President Bill Clinton who received a pardon after being convicted of tax evasion.