Retirement systems are among those competing to lead a lawsuit against Jon Corzine, former CEO of MF Global Holdings, over the collapse of the commodity brokerage.
The $51 billion Virginia Retirement System, Richmond, and the $1.1 billion Building Trades United Pension Trust Fund, Elm Grove, Wis., filed separate requests in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday to serve as lead plaintiff, as did the Banyan Capital Master Fund Ltd.
Mr. Corzine is defendant in at least nine lawsuits before a federal judge in New York that seek compensation for losses from the company’s bankruptcy, according to court papers. U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero has been combining the cases into one, saying they make similar claims that Mr. Corzine and other company officials made misleading statements about MF Global’s financial condition before its Oct. 31 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Andrew Levander, a lawyer for Mr. Corzine, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the filings. Mr. Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey, and senior MF Global officers touted the company’s internal financial controls and liquidity levels in statements that were “materially misleading or untrue,” according to a Nov. 3 complaint filed in federal court by Joseph DeAngelis on behalf of himself and other MF Global shareholders.
Mr. DeAngelis also named Henri Steenkamp, MF Global’s CFO, and Bradley Abelow, its president.
MF Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection listing $41 billion in assets after making bets on European sovereign debt and getting margin calls. The holding company is the parent of a futures brokerage that is being liquidated in a separate court proceeding.
An Oct. 25 release on second-quarter results “falsely stated” that MF Global had strengthened its capital and liquidity, Mr. DeAngelis said in the complaint. Mr. Corzine said in the release he was confident the company had “the resources and expertise to continue to successfully manage these exposures,” according to the complaint.
Mr. Corzine and MF Global also have been sued by former employees and commodity customers. A trustee liquidating the MF Global brokerage is looking for $1.2 billion or more in money missing from commodity customers’ accounts. Mr. Corzine has said he doesn’t know where the missing money is and didn’t authorize any misuse of customer funds that may have occurred.