While we were live blogging the Congressional hearing into the collapse of MF Global, Deal Journal also kept a scorecard on Jon Corzine’s hotly anticipated first public explanations of what went wrong at his firm.
Yes, Corzine ducked plenty of questions, but he didn’t — as many expected — plead the Fifth. His quasi-candor, and the usual political theater of Congressional hearings, gave spectators plenty to chew over.
Here is a look at Corzine’s Congressional appearance by the numbers:
Two Hours, 33 Minutes:
The length of Corzine’s appearance before the House committee, according to Deal Journal’s stopwatch. The time excludes an hour-plus break for the members of Congress to leave the hearing room and vote on another matter.
Deal Journal’s rough tally of the number of ways Corzine found to duck or deflect questions he couldn’t wouldn’t answer. Among the reasons he gave were: Inability to access his notes, emails and other financial records to explain what happened at MF Global (5 times); “It would be hard for me to speculate” or similar variations (5 times); The tally includes…
At Least Five
Deal Journal’s count of how many times Corzine used the phrase “I did not intend,” or some variation of the phrase. As any lawyer or well-rehearsed former financial executive will know, intent is key to prove culpability in court.Corzine used this phrase so often that the House members noticed. Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R.-Texas and a trained CPA) said, “I understand why you keep using the word ‘intent.’”
Crisis-communications executives had told Deal Journal that Corzine would have to show sympathy for those who suffered from MF Global’s collapse, but at the same time not give law-enforcement officials or plaintiffs lawyers any ammo for future litigation.
The number of different ways Corzine said, “I’m Sorry.” Here’s a look at a few:
* My sadness, of course, pales in comparison to the losses and hardships that customers, employees and investors have suffered as a result of MF Global’s bankruptcy. Their plight weighs on my mind every day – every hour. And, as the chief executive officer of MF Global at the time of itsbankruptcy, I apologize to all those affected. (from Corzine’s prepared testimony.)
* I could not be more regretful the stress we bring to people’s lives.”
* “My own expectation even at these late hours is that the money will be recovered,” said Corzine about roughly $1.2 billion that has gone missing from MF Global segregated client funds. Corzine expressed “anguish” for the clients who don’t know where their money went.
* Corzine said he was in “stunned disbelief” when he was told about the shortfall in MF Global client funds....MORE