The highly compensated Wall Street spin machine never ceases to amaze me. Case in point: defending the indefensible Jon S. Corzine. As soon as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued the embattled former chairman and chief executive officer of MF Global Inc., the now liquidated brokerage, the spinmeisters mobilized.
The CFTC's gutsy June 27 lawsuit claimed that Corzine failed to "diligently supervise" MF Global and, as the firm's "control person," allowed lower-level employees to illegally use more than $1 billion of customer funds to try to stave off MF Global's Halloween 2011 bankruptcy filing.
In truth, Corzine is lucky he isn't facing criminal charges for overseeing the demise of MF Global. Its creditors lost billions, and 3,000 employees lost their jobs.
Corzine isn't an easy man to defend. He is the avuncular former senior partner of Goldman Sachs (when it was still a partnership) who designed a trade that almost bankrupted the firm in 1994. He held secret merger talks in 1998 with Mellon Bank, something he denied when his partners confronted him. This bit of obfuscation led Hank Paulson to organize the coup that toppled Corzine the next year.
After leaving Goldman, Corzine embarked on his political career, first as a U.S. senator fromNew Jersey and then as its governor. One example of Governor Corzine's view of risk management was his decision, in April 2007, not to wear a seat belt in the front seat of his sport utility vehicle while being driven at 90 miles-per-hour on the Garden State Parkway. When the SUV crashed, Corzine almost died from his injuries.
David Fuller's view If Corzine is not tried and sentenced if
found guilty, what does it say about the ethics of his political cronies and
a portion of the financial industry?
The email comments following this article are also interesting.
Here is another article on ethical abuses at financial firms: Osborne Backs Jain for 'Reckless' U.K. Bankers.
Critics may say that these efforts by governments will impede financial innovation and dynamic growth. Just possibly, in the short term, but over the longer-term countries can only benefit from sound, responsible financial sectors.