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Something 'nefarious' happened at MF Global: CFTC official

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

The sign marking the MF Global Holdings Ltd. offices at 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan is seen in New York.

"(I)t's either nefarious or illegal ..."

Those are the words of Bart Chilton, an official with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). He was referring to the approximately $600 million of clients' money missing from now-bankrupt broker MF Global, which was run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.

The CFTC is one of a number of agencies, including the FBI, investigating whether MF Global used clients' money to cover itself amid bad bets on European debt. MF Global, which has been around for more than 200 years, filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31.

"I can’t comment on the investigation, but it looks suspicious as heck to me,” Chilton, a Democratic commissioner with the CFTC, told CNBC when asked about the missing money.

“It’s either nefarious or illegal, in my personal opinion,” he added. "The money should be there. It's not."

Neither MF Global nor Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs CEO, has been charged with any wrongdoing. MF Global, which laid off its entire staff on Nov. 11, was not available to comment. 

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