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Missing millions at MF Global may be double initial estimate

More than $1.2 billion of customers' funds may be missing from the accounts of a brokerage formerly run by former New Jersey Gov.  Jon Corzine, double previous estimates, the court-appointed trustee overseeing the brokerage's bankruptcy said Monday.

"At present, the Trustee believes that even if he recovers everything that is at U.S. depositories, the apparent shortfall in what MF Global management should have segregated at U.S. depositories may be as much as $1.2 billion or more," the trustee, James W. Giddens said in a statement.

The statement released by the trustee's office said even that estimate was preliminary and could change.

MF Global filed for bankruptcy Oct. 31 after succumbing to a slew of bad bets on European debt. A bevy of regulators, including the FBI, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, is probing whether MF Global tried to stave off its losses by using funds in clients' accounts. If the firm did so, it may have violated securities regulations.

Neither the firm nor Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs CEO, have been accused of wrongdoing.

Last week, Commission Bart Chilton of the CFTC, said that while he could not comment specifically about the investigation, the activity at MF Global prior to its bankruptcy looked "suspicious as heck." A spokesman for the CFTC said Chilton was gathering more information and could not comment yet on the announcement by the trustee. 

The SEC declined to comment.