Friday, December 16, 2011

What Didn't You Know and When?

2/16/2011 -- The old lawyer's joke about avoiding a perjury rap while testifying under oath, is that one might well safely say something like this:

"I have no current recollection . . . [e.g., of ever having said or done any such thing.]"

The presumption, of course, is that there is a tiny possibility "it" happened, but that right now . . . well, you know, I just do not remember.

With respect to the demonstrably spotty memory of Jon Corzine, the former head of MF Global Holdings Ltd, from which $1.2 billion "mysteriously "disappeared, the Wall Street Journal sardonically suggests that perhaps the question investigators or others might more appropriately ask is:

"What didn't you know, and when didn't you know it?"

Here is a video mash-up of Jon Corzine's December 8th House Committee testimony (the full clip is posted here) which seems to underscore the point:

Ed Morrissey at HotAir notes how Jon Corzine, the former Democrat Governor of New Jersey -- and, as Ed helpfully reminded the also curiously forgetful Washington Post -- an announced and widely-touted mega-fundraising bundler for the 2012 Obama Presidential campaign is now ensnared in doubling down and re-testifying before Congress.

In doing so, Jon was, so to speak, taking a second bite of the apple, offering his "explanation" for what Terrence A. Duffy, the chief executive of CME Group, and the firm assigned to auditing MF Global, may have been thinking about when Duffy testified about what, to his knowledge, Jon was aware of and ordered in his role as the former head of the recently bankrupt MF Global Holdings Ltd.
. . .
"While the last few days of MF Global were chaotic, I did not instruct anyone to lend customer funds to MF Global for any of its affiliates, nor was I told that anyone had done so," he said.

Corzine said Duffy might have been referring to problems Corzine encountered days before MF Global sought bankruptcy protection, when he was trying to raise cash by selling billions of dollars of securities.

He said J.P. Morgan Chase told him that it would not engage in those transactions until overdrafts in London were cleaned up. Corzine said he asked the firm's back office in Chicago to resolve the problem.

Later that day, J.P. Morgan Chase contacted Corzine again and said it needed assurances that the transfer of funds did not violate federal rules, Corzine said. Corzine said MF Global’s Chicago staff "explicitly confirmed to me that the funds were properly transferred, and I understood that J.P. Morgan Chase was satisfied, since they executed . . . billions of dollars of trades with MF Global."

"I do know that I never authorized anyone to use customer funds to make a loan or a transfer of funds, I never intended to, nor do I think I said anything that could have been construed to do that," the former chairman and chief executive of MF Global testified.
. . . .

You see, the actions Duffy testified about would comprise what Ed Morrissey succinctly summarized in his post as "the transfer of customer funds to cover his big bets on European sovereign debt." Jon had just previously testified under oath that, regardless of the many things he simply could not recall, that he certainly did not do that! And, Corzine further insisted that he was not made aware of anyone else at the firm ordering that transfer at the time.

Because of his unique position as the head of MF Global at the time, doing the one or "condoning" the other, would have been illegal on his part.

So, in summary, Jon clearly remembers what didn't happen. It's just part about what did take place that seems to be giving the guy fits.

Hmmmm . . . maybe the Wall Street Journal has the right questions after all!

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