Friday, December 23, 2011

Legality of Non Transparent Transfer of MF Global Assets to JP Morgan Questioned (JPM; MFG)

From the Managed Futures Education Center:

(This article was revised on 12/20/2011 based on new information received)

Commodity Customer Coalition founder James Koutoulas is requesting that MF Global bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn investigate three potential legal issues that are said to have occurred in transferring of MF Global assets.  The key issues include the fact that JP Morgan was able to purchase MF Global bonds at a discount without any open bidding process and the assets were apparently sold without disclosure to or approval from the U.S. bankruptcy court or trustees.  The third issue centers on JP Morgan seeking special favors from the Federal Reserve to receive priority treatment over investor segregated fund accounts.

The first such non-transparent movement of assets occurred when JP Morgan is said to have purchased MF Global’s Sovereign Debt at a significant discount without an open bidding process, paying $0.89 and later selling that debt to investor George Soros for $0.95.  No one is going to complain about JP Morgan generating profit.  However, purchasing assets of a bankrupt firm without an open bidding process or disclosure to the bankruptcy court and trustees is where JP Morgan may be in trouble, according to Mr. Koutoulas.  This sale could be subject to clawback provisions, legal experts speculate.  
(On December 9, 2011 The Wall Street Journal reported the fact that bonds were moved to KPMG London office, which was the bankruptcy administrator, but at the time the article did not discuss sale details or approval through the bankruptcy process.  See “Corzine’s Loss May Be Soros’s Gain” by Gregory Zuckerman and Dana Cimilluca.)

The key issue is that such transfers is the bonds were purchased at a discount without open bidding and the process was not disclosed to or authorized by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, according to Mr. Koutoulas.  “Who gave JP Morgan permission to purchase those bonds at a discount without open bidding?”

The second questionable movement of assets is said to have occurred when JP Morgan purchased MF Global’s stake in the London Metals Exchange (LME) without proper disclosure.  The event was widely reported at a basic level on November 28, 2011.  The larger issue, however, appears to center on the fact that such a transaction was not approved by the U.S. bankruptcy court and trustee....MORE
HT: Naked Capitalism

Yeah, but other than that...