Jon Corzine Reportedly Shopped For French Chateau While MF Global Was On Verge Of Collapse

(Friday, January 6th, 2012)

As MF Global inched towards collapse, CEO Jon Corzine pre-occupied himself with a few other things — namely securing a chateau for him and his wife in the ritzy south of France.

At a party in Paris on October 15 — just two weeks before MF Global filed for bankruptcy, costing more than 1,000 workers their jobs — Corzine and his wife, Sharon Elghanayan, were discussing a house they planned to purchase in the south of France, according to an upcoming report in Vanity Fair.

“It’s not in Cap Ferrat,” one person at the party told Vanity Fair they recall Elghanayan saying in an effort to tone down the extravagance. Cap Ferrat is a coastal town in the south of France known for its lavish lifestyle.

Though Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs CEO, governor of New Jersey and Senator, was able to scrounge up the money for a possible chateau purchase, he’s having a little bit more trouble tracking down MF Global clients’ money, much of which is still missing. Shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy on October 31 over risky bets on European debt that went disastrously wrong, hundreds of millions worth of customers’ money was discovered missing.

Corzine, who resigned in early November after the firm’s collapse, told Congress of the lost client funds: “I simply do not know where the money is.” The missing funds have attracted the attention of the FBI and federal prosecutors, according to Reuters.

Though shopping for a house presumably worth millions in France while your company is on the verge of bankruptcy may seem uniquely ridiculous, Corzine is not the first executive of a failing firm to spend lavishly. Indeed, it’s happened multiple times in the new millenium. Ken Lay, the former CEO of Enron, sold the company’s shares back to Enron to pay for luxuries like renting a private yacht, even as the energy giant was on the verge of collapse, according to a 2006 Reuters report.

READ MORE: HUFFINGTON POST

One Comment

  1. nfgo3 says:

    This is really old news – only the superficial facts have changed.

    Mr. Corzine retired from Goldman Sachs with a net worth of approximately a gazillion dollars and has managed his own money reasonably well since he left Goldman. It is hardly newsworthy that a guy with a gazillion dollars is shopping for a luxurious French chateau. He probably knows where all his money is, even if he does not know where his customers’ money is. There is no information in this report that links the money Mr. Corzine spent (or intended to spend) on the luxurious French chateau to the missing MF Global customers’ money. This report is, therefore, a hatchet job, and, frankly, given the mess at MF Global over which Mr. Corzine presided, there is no need for a hatchet job, as the relevant facts are damaging enough all by themselves.

    The only real news here is that he did not buy a luxurious French chateau sooner.

    And by the way, was the picture of Mr. Corzine taken in his MF Global office? That might explain how the customers’ money disappeared. (With apologies for my unnecessary hatchet job.)

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