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- Goldman Sachs May Have Lost $100Mn on Energy Bet Gone Wrong
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PricewaterhouseCoopers vs. Jon Corzine – Who’s Truthful? Who’s Right?
[Photo: by Jefferson Siegel / NY Daily News]
The malpractice case against PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, has completed 2 days of testimony. Jon Corzine, the former Chairman and CEO of MF Global, has been under heavy cross-examination from James Cusick, the lawyer representing PwC.
Corzine never wavered from his assertion that the collapse of MF Global, which happened under his stewardship, had nothing to do with the financial health of MF Global. Corzine professed that he had not been overly worried about the firm’s credit rating, even as Mr. Cusick rattled off some 99 financial issues that Moody’s factored into its downgrade of MF Global.
While Corzine never blamed PwC directly, he testified that he and his team relied “on the advice they were receiving and I was receiving, from our outside public accountants.” Corzine did specifically note that PwC's decision to change its advice on accounting for "deferred tax assets," and MF Global's decision to reveal more than PwC had required about the European debt to calm jittery markets, prompted "confusion" and a "loss of confidence and trust."
That Euro debt would refer principally to Corzine's $6.3 billion bet on sovereign debt from 5 European countries, which spooked nervous markets after a recent near-shutdown of the U.S. government.
So, while we wait for testimony to play out in this Manhattan federal courtroom, we look for any indications of definitive proof that establishes PwC’s advisory role as having played a significant and integral role in the timing of the financial troubles that ultimately upended MF Global.
It will be interesting to see if, during the course of this 5-week trial, testimony comes out about other aspects of MF Global’s 2011-2012 melodrama:
- e.g., MF Global’s misuse of $1 billion of customer funds that should have been securely segregated, but which the firm used as collateral for its undermargined positions.