A Romance With Risk That Brought On a Panic – NYTimes.com

A Romance With Risk That Brought On a Panic – NYTimes.com.

His obsession with trading was apparent to MF Global insiders over his 19-month tenure. Mr. Corzine compulsively traded for the firm on his BlackBerry during meetings, sometimes dashing out to check on the markets. And unusually for a chief executive, he became a core member of the group that traded using the firm’s money. His profits and losses appeared on a separate line in documents with his initials: JSC.

The bidders dropped out one by one, leaving just Interactive Brokers on Sunday, Oct. 30. Mr. Corzine and his team briefed regulators at 2 p.m. saying a sale looked likely to go through. About nine hours later, he got word that more than $950 million in customer funds was missing, making a merger impossible. The day after the bankruptcy, Mr. Corzine sifted through transactions in the hope of locating the missing money, one person said.

Ultimately, the bets Corzine placed wound up better than the firm itself. The European debt trades were profitable, though too late for MF Global.

Before Congress on Thursday, Mr. Corzine continued to emphasize how well his trades held up. “As of today, none of the foreign debt securities that MF Global used,” he said, “has defaulted or been restructured.”

“There actually were no losses.”

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