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MF Global trustee says clients may be made whole

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[February 04, 2013]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Former brokerage customers of MF Global could fully recover cash that was frozen when the trading firm collapsed, according to the bankruptcy trustee in the Chapter 11 case.

The projection is based on the latest analysis of recoverable assets available in MF Global's bankruptcy, versus pending claims, the trustee, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, said in a court filing Saturday.

The report outlines a potential range of recovery for brokerage customers, depending on various scenarios, from a shortfall of $6 million to a surplus of $120 million. Those figures are based on calculations that recoverable assets range from about $6.857 billion to $6.983 billion, versus claims of $6.863 billion.

If there's a surplus, customers whose money was frozen when MF Global collapsed in October 2011 could get a full recovery of their losses.

That does not include other classes of creditors, such as lenders with unsecured claims, which are not expected to fully recover their claims. For example, one such group of lenders is expected to receive a distribution ranging from 14 percent to about 34 percent, according to the filing, with potentially no recovery for other groups.

Freeh's update was filed with Judge Martin Glenn in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for New York's Southern District. Freeh is a former federal judge who served as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1993 through 2001. He's now chairman of Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, a global risk-management firm.

His filing came after an agreement was reached in December that could speed up payment to customers of MF Global. That agreement resolved competing claims filed against MF Global's main brokerage unit and the company's United Kingdom operations.

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New York-based MF Global, which specialized in trading futures and options, was headed by former New Jersey Governor and U.S. Senator Jon Corzine. It collapsed in Oct. 2011 after making a disastrous bet on European debt.

Regulators have been investigating whether MF Global tapped money from clients' accounts as its financial condition worsened. That would violate securities laws because brokerages are required to keep customer money separate from the firm's money.

Much of the money that went missing belonged to farmers, ranchers and other business owners who used MF Global to reduce their risks from fluctuating prices of commodities like corn and wheat.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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