Jon Corzine returns to Capitol Hill Thursday for the latest hearing on the implosion of MF Global, this time before a House Financial Services subcommittee.
As the search for the "missing" $1.2 billion in client funds rolls on, Gerald Celente has a message for all Americans: "If you don't have your money under your pillow or mattress, you don't have it all. It's not safe."
Along with hundreds of other MF clients, Celente is scrambling to get his money back -- he claims he had over $100,000 in a brokerage account at the doomed firm.
"This is really huge," he says, noting MF Global's filing is the 8th-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and this episode is the first time clients of a regulated commodities futures brokerage have seen their funds "disappear" because of a broker's failure, rather than their own bad trades.
MF's collapse and the "missing" client funds may seem like a one-off -- an isolated incident. Celente's bigger point is that banks and brokerage firms can legally use client funds (i.e. your money); that "comingling" funds is neither rare nor a scandalous practice.
The Scandal Is What's LEGAL
Indeed, just because money was transferred out of customer accounts to MF's broker-dealer account that "doesn't mean it was illegitimate," Jill Sommers, who is heading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's review of MF Global, tells Reuters.
Reuters further quotes Sommers as claiming the CFTC is "far enough along the trail that we know where all the money went. Now it's just finding out which ones of those transactions are legitimate and which ones of them are illegitimate."
To Celente, the whole episode is illegitimate; another example of crony capitalism run amok in America.
The trend watcher totally dismisses Corzine's claim that he "never intended to break any rules" as Clinton-esque double-talk. Furthermore, he believes regulators have gone soft on MF Global because of Jon Corzine's connections at the highest levels of government. A former N.J. Senator and Governor, Corzine has also been a major fundraiser for President Obama.
"Nobody can get away with this kind of nonsense other than if you're a member of the 'White Shoe' boy club and really on the top," he says. "If [MF] were a small brokerage firm...SWAT teams, the FBI they'd be cleaning the joint out. It'd be a whole different story."
To Celente's point, there've been no indictments to date and Corzine was generally handled with great care at a Senate hearing earlier this week.
But Thursday's House hearing is likely to be much more contentious, given the House is under Republican control and Terrence Duffy, CEO of the CME Group, contradicted Corzine's testimony that he didn't know of any illegal transfers of client funds to MF's broker-dealer account.
"The only thing I can tell you is that MF Global transferred customer money to its broker dealer, and that Mr. Corzine was aware of the loans being made from segregated accounts," Duffy said under oath.
There is some chatter that Duff's testimony puts Corzine at risk of a perjury charge. Either way, don't expect Republicans on the House subcommittee to handle Corzine with kid gloves.