04 March 2012

MF Global: What Happened to the Money - 'This Is Not a Boat Accident'

Money does not just 'vaporize' or go missing because of sloppy bookkeeping.  The crony capitalists and their friends would have you think that it was just an accident, or some unfortunate act of God for which no one can be held responsible.   Like the financial crisis in the world caused by massive fraud at the big Banks for which no one has been held accountable.

The facts suggest that the customer money at MF Global was stolen, twice.

First, it was stolen by the management of MF Global, who brazenly used it to cover their own gambling losses.

Then it was stolen by the recipients of the stolen money, probably the Banks and powerful financiers, who knew that MF Global was going under, and did not want to take the losses on their own unsecured claims.

So the system was twisted to hide the involvement of powerful figures with strong ties to the political system and multinational corporations operating out of New York and the City of London.

As Richard Dreyfuss said in the movie, Jaws, "Well, this is not a boat accident."

And until the people do something, say something, to stop it, this kind of wanton theft will almost certainly happen again.

Farmer faces planting season with seeds of distrust
By Wayne Drash
March 4, 2012

...Tofteland held the farm together after his father was killed, survived drought and the great flood of 1993. Then, commodity prices sank in the mid-1990s. And like most farmers, he has seen too many friends die young.

Such are the hazards of life on a farm.

But all that Tofteland has worked for was nearly lost in one fell swoop last October. This time, it wasn't a crisis brought on by tragedy or Mother Nature. It was the work of Wall Street and commodity power players in Chicago, a scandal that has become known simply as MF Global.

Tofteland had $253,000 in an account with the brokerage firm, money he planned to use to cover his farm's operating loan. As MF Global went bankrupt last fall, customers' segregated accounts were raided in clear violation of exchange rules. When the dust settled, more than 38,000 MF Global customers -- including thousands of farmers, ranchers and grain operators who used the firm to hold money for transactions on the futures market -- were out more than $1.2 billion.

On a recent February day, Tofteland points to the stirrups hanging in his barn. They've been there since the 1930s, when the first tractor arrived. Nearby, his fields stretch nearly to the horizon.

His seed bill last year was $230,000; fertilizer cost $150,000. In addition to his own land, he farms acreage he rents at a cost of $450,000. He has another $1 million tied up in equipment, plus four full-time employees. "We're talking big numbers, and you're taking all these risks," he says. "And you can get hailed out, droughted out, flooded out at any time."

That's why the MF Global scandal hurt so much: a financial tsunami that nearly wiped everything away. Tofteland had come to rely on the futures market. So eroded is his trust in the system, he hasn't used it since.

He notes he can track a hog from his farm to somebody's table. Yet somehow, he ponders, authorities haven't fully tracked the missing $1.2 billion, or who was behind it.

"It's either ignorance or fraud," he says. "Money doesn't vaporize. If my account is empty, somebody else's is full."

Tofteland opens the door to one of his four hog barns. More than 250 piglets scamper in pens in the climate-controlled barn. The smell is so wretched it takes every ounce of strength for a newcomer not to vomit. The analogy is inescapable: What stinks worse, a hog barn or ...?

Tofteland doesn't even pause to think. "I would say MF Global. Our money was stolen and nobody is being held accountable..."

Read the rest here.

In a cover up like this it is never the initial act, but almost always the subsequent actions to hide the truth, that festers, and can bring down corrupt organizations.