Violent threats made against UK staff

 

Staff working at the UK division of MF Global have received "threats of violence", which are supposed to be connected to the misappropriation of funds by the US broker's New York parent company before it imploded in October, a London court heard yesterday.

MF Global's UK administrators, KPMG, sought and received court permission for the names and addresses of the group's British-based staff to be removed from a court filing relating to the administration of the business, as it sought to minimise the potential for future threats.

Adam al-Attar, KPMG's lawyer, told the court: "We have had two sets of threats, one in relation to a trader," which, he added, might have been prompted by the UK division's association with the US parent company, where there "is speculation as to the misapplication of client monies".

An estimated $1.2bn (£773m) of money has gone missing from MF Global's "segregated customer funds", which are supposed to be protected. Jon Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs chief executive and ex-governor of New Jersey, who was running MF Global when it collapsed, denied all knowledge of where the missing funds could be as he testified in front of a US Senate committee last week.

No shortfall has been identified in the UK division of MF Global. The threats of violence emerged as KPMG gave up its battle to save MF Global's UK division, meaning its remaining 300 staff will lose their jobs, although they will be employed in the coming months in winding down the British business.

This means nearly 700 UK employees will have lost their jobs as a result of MF Global's collapse, which revolves around a bad $6.3bn bet on European sovereign debt. The trades were made last year in the hope the eurozone debt crisis would improve. However, as the crisis worsened, Fitch downgraded its rating to "junk" and connected parties panicked.

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