WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) – Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was on the hot seat Thursday, facing tough questions about the collapse of his firm MF Global, and the disappearance of $1.2 billion – his clients’ money.
Corzine swore to tell the truth — as far as he knows it — about the crash of the brokerage firm he ran, which fell apart this fall in the eighth largest bankruptcy in United States history, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“I was stunned when I was told that MF Global could not account for many hundreds of millions of dollars of client money,” Corzine said Thursday.
WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond: Corzine Apologizes
Earlier, the lawyer representing the court-appointed trustee trying to find the funds, said $1.2 billion is missing. Corzine said he had no clue about where it is.
“I simply do not know where the money is or why the accounts have been reconciled to date,” Corzine said.
Looking ill at ease, sometimes stumbling over words, the former Garden State governor and U.S. senator claimed he tried to do the right thing in running the troubled financial, which made disastrous bets on European debt.
“I never intended to break any rules,” Corzine said.
And he tried to apologize to those who lost money by investing with the firm.
“I mean this with all sincerity, I apologize both personally and on behalf of the company to our customers, our employees and our investors. I truly know they are bearing the brunt,” Corzine said.
But Jennifer De Ruzza, a single mother who invested her $10,000 next egg in MF Global, said she and her two daughters are really suffering without the funds.
“They took all of my cash in my account,” De Ruzza said. “We can’t pay the rent. We can’t pay the car insurance, the condo insurance, the property insurance and, you know, I have credit cards. We’ve had to go have meals at friends’ houses and Christmas is here and I have no money. I have nothing for the birthdays. Christmas has kind of been cancelled for right now.”
The FBI is investigating MF Global. Corzine’s testimony could be used against him in a courtroom.
Legal experts say he could be held personally liable if he is found to have misrepresented the riskiness of certain investments.
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