Maybe We Finally Get to Jail A Banker: The MF Global Dream
And it really could happen too. No, not because they lost all our money playing silly buggers with houses and the like, not because they’ve been lending money to Southern European spivs.
Rather, a company called MF Global has just gone bust. Used to be part of the Man Group (same people who brought us the Man Booker prize for books) but was sold off in 2007. Not exactly a really sexy company, it was a futures broker more than anything else. Basically ye people who took your phone order and went and did the actual trade for you if you wanted to lose your money in pork bellies and the like.
They brought in the ex-head of Goldman Sachs (and then Senator and Governor of New Jersey), a bloke called John Corzine, who decided to make it a much more sexy company. Instead of just processing orders for other people and taking a few cents on each, they’d start playing in futures with their own money and make fortunes!
Everything went just fine until they bought $6 billion or Greek and Spanish and Italian debt…..you can see where this is going, yes?…..and then they went bust. Yesterday in fact.
Now, the thing is, losing everyone’s money does not send you to jail. As we know from Lloyds and RBS and Northern Rock and so on. However:
“Federal regulators have discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money have gone missing from MF Global in recent days, prompting an investigation into the company’s operations as it filed for bankruptcy on Monday, according to several people briefed on the matter.”
Losing people’s money is non-jailable. Taking people’s money is very much jailable.
It’s still a little early to tell whether there actually is any missing money or not but if there is someone, somewhere, is going to be spending a lot of time looking at prison bars from the inside.
Hurrah! We get to jail a banker or two at last!