The MF Global scam is “straight-up embezzlement”—Corzine is “the original George Zimmerman”

Will Jon Corzine ever see the inside of a courtroom? Or will his Ruling Class status — poster boy for “They Who Cannot Be Jailed” — keep him free and happy till he dies? Consider:

▪ Jon Corzine was the CEO of MF Global, a commodities dealer that stole customer funds to cover its own losing bets, then went bankrupt immediately after giving out bonuses.

▪ Jon Corzine is also this guy:

He’s Top 0.1% in spades: a Goldman CEO, a senator, a governor, and a major Dem fundraiser in an election year.

So what do you think? In a world where Nixon was pardoned, can this man be arrested? In my view, return to Rule of Law would be a revolution.

Our last news was that big-deal prosecutors, manly men like Preet Bharara of New York and Chicago’s own Patrick Fitzgerald, are suddenly going to need a “smoking gun” before they begin to touch the case. (Is that how prosecution now works? Or is that just the “Top 0.1% Rule”?)

Here’s Matt Taibbi on why Corzine is “the original George Zimmerman” (my emphases and paragraphing):

So the Senate Banking Committee is beginning hearings today on the MF Global scandal, hearings entitled, “The Collapse of MF Global: Lessons Learned and Policy Implications.”

Apparently the government has already moved to the reflective, introspective, South Park-ian, “You know, I learned something today!” stage in its examination of the scandal, despite the fact that the government’s official “response” hasn’t even started yet, i.e. authorities have yet to arrest a single person in this brazen billion-dollar theft story.

To make an obvious comparison: Much like the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, the outrage here goes beyond the fact of the horrific crime. An equally profound insult in both cases lay in the fact that that serious crime obviously had been committed, and yet authorities refused to act for months. This situation with former Goldman chief and U.S. Senator Jon Corzine and the officials of MF Global involves a less physically savage offense, but the authorities’ refusal to act is every bit as incredible.

Elsewhere in the same piece, Taibbi discusses the apparent complexity of most financial crime — which tends to shield the criminals from public outrage. But that’s not the case here; this is just “straight-up embezzlement”:

MF Global is different. This is not complicated at all. This is just stealing. You owe money, you don’t have the cash to cover it, and so you take money belonging to someone else to cover your debts. … It’s straight-up embezzlement.

He even quotes an internal company document contemplating the theft and wondering “what is the strategy if we want to keep the customer [cash] and wait until the storm passes?” Click to read; it’s an eye-opener.

Which brings us to Taibbi’s second point (and mine). Because the crime is so simple, the Our Betters Club — media included — is working overtime to rally round their member. Remember that when you listen to MF Global news stories — the media is complicit.

[T]here’s been an intense effort at trying to convince the public that no crime has been committed.

Whoever is handling MF Global’s P.R. (according to Pam Martens in this excellent piece, it’s APCO worldwide, a former Big Tobacco spin factory) appears to have convinced the company’s officers to emphasize the word “chaos” in describing the last days of the firm – as though $1.2 billion wasn’t intentionally stolen, per se, but simply lost in a kind of uncontrolled whirlwind of transactions that magically carried the money out of accounts off to worlds unknown.

The rest of Taibbi’s piece lays out that part of the story — how the Chaos Defense is being played out like silly string by the lazy (or compliant) Our Betters Press Club. Reuters, the Times Dealbook, Corzine in congressional testimony — they’re all on board with the Chaos coverup.

The piece is really worth reading in full; for starters, it’s Taibbi at his clear-eyed researching best. If you care about Corzine and Rule of Law, it’s a must-click. Taibbi closes with the Rule of Law point:

It would be one thing if this was a country with a general, across-the-board tendency toward leniency for property crime. But we send tens of thousands of people to do real jail time in this country for non-violent offenses like theft. We routinely separate mothers from their children for relatively petty crimes like welfare fraud. For almost anyone who isn’t Jon Corzine, it’s no joke to get caught stealing in America.

I’d like to close with this, a video of Taibbi explaining financial crime to Max Keiser of the Keiser Report. I’ve trimmed the clip to include just the Taibbi interview. Jump to about the 2/3 point to hear Taibbi discuss MF Global. To get to that point more precisely, look at the digital clock ticking in the lower left corner of the screen, then use the slider to jump to point where the clock reads x:52 minutes and start watching (h/t Susie Madrak):

The entire Max Keiser segment is here.

“Straight-up embezzlement,” that’s all it is. As Taibbi explains in the clip, we put poor women in jail all the time for stealing a little day care to which they’re not entitled. But Jon Corzine will float on Angel Soft clouds, clean and perfum-fresh, to the next meeting of the Gotcha Club — his feet never touching the ground, much less a courtroom.


(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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