U.S. News

Congressional Panel Seeks to Question Corzine

Ben Protess|The New York Times

A congressional panel plans to question MF Global executives, including Jon S. Corzine, about the downfall of the trading firm and the customer money that went missing in its final days, according to people familiar with the matter.

Treasury Secretary Nominee Jon Corzine

The oversight unit of the House Financial Services Committee has tentatively scheduled a public hearing on MF Global for Dec. 15, one person said, and lawmakers plan to call as witnesses Mr. Corzine and Bradley Abelow, the firm’s chief operating officer and Mr. Corzine’s chief of staff when he was governor of New Jersey.

It is unclear whether Mr. Corzine and Mr. Abelow will accept the invitation to testify, though the subcommittee could subpoena the executives if they initially balk.

Lawmakers will also ask top regulators to testify, including Robert Cook, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission‘s office of trading and markets.

Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will also be called, though Mr. Gensler has recused himself from the case because he once worked for Mr. Corzine at Goldman Sachs.

Lawmakers will likely examine what caused hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money to go missing from MF Global. Regulators have estimated that more than $600 million cannot be found.

On Monday, the trustee overseeing the dismantling of MF Global’s brokerage unit pegged the number at around $1.2 billion.

The hearing will overlap with an intensifying federal investigation into MF Global.

The trustee and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are leading the search for the missing money while the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors in New York and Chicago are examining potential criminal wrongdoing.

Investigators now believe that much of the customer money has left the firm, people briefed on the matter said.

Regulators suspect that MF Global used some money to meet their own financial obligations, which could mean that those funds are gone forever.