May 27, 2024

DealBook: House Committee Subpoenas Corzine

Jon S. Corzine, the former chief of MF Global.Pool photo by Andrew HarrerJon S. Corzine, the former chief of MF Global.

The House Agriculture Committee voted on Friday to force Jon S. Corzine to appear at an upcoming hearing about the collapse of MF Global, the brokerage firm that he once ran.

The committee’s hearing, set for Thursday, will present the first public grilling of Mr. Corzine since MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31. It also will give lawmakers a platform to delve into the demise of MF Global, where as much as $1.2 billion in customer money remains missing. Customers of the brokerage firm included farmers and agriculture companies, as well as hedge funds and other investors.

“We agree that his testimony is essential to fulfill our objectives on behalf of our constituents and to complete the hearing record,” the committee’s chairman, Frank Lucas, Republican of Oklahoma, said at a committee meeting.

The disappearance of the money has spawned a sprawling federal investigation into MF Global, with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission leading the search for the missing money and the Federal Bureau of Investigation examining a potential criminal case.

On Friday morning, the House committee voted unanimously to issue a subpoena to Mr. Corzine, who ran MF Global before he resigned on Nov. 4. He also faces requests to testify from two other Congressional panels.

Mr. Corzine has not been accused of any wrongdoing. A representative for Mr. Corzine declined to comment.

The hearing will be an awkward return to Capital Hill for Mr. Corzine, who spent five years in Washington as a Democratic Senator from New Jersey. He left his Senate seat to become the governor of New Jersey, a job he lost in 2009.

The House panel’s hearing will be quickly followed by two other Congressional committee hearings into MF Global. The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold its hearing on Dec. 13, and the oversight panel of the House Financial Services Committee will host a hearing on Dec. 15.

In a preview of the upcoming examinations, lawmakers on Thursday grilled MF Global’s regulators about the firm’s collapse. With the customer money still missing more than a month after the Chapter 11 filing, lawmakers noted, some futures industry customers are losing patience.

“MF Global has shattered the faith of customers in the futures markets,” Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and the Senate Agriculture Committee’s chairwoman, said at the hearing.

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