MF Global US clients face wait on UK claims
* U.S. trustee faces wait on U.K. funds
* Giddens wants $700 mln for U.S. clients
By Luke Jeffs
LONDON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. trustee for bankrupt MF Global Holdings faces a wait to learn how much of the $700 million held by the failed broker's British subsidiary he can claw back on behalf of U.S. clients.
Trustee James Giddens told MF Global's U.S. customers on Tuesday he planned to recover $70 million in cash and $630 million in bonds from MF Global UK.
A source close to the process said on Wednesday it was too soon to talk numbers.
"It is simply too early in the process to talk seriously about how much will be claimed back and it is largely dependent on how much is in segregated client funds and how much is from the general estate pot," the source said.
MF Global, like other brokers, separated large client accounts from each other and its own trading book, making these segregated accounts relatively easy to administer for trustees.
But smaller accounts did not enjoy this level of transparency and any claims by clients holding those accounts will be against the general cash pool to be shared out among all creditors.
MF Global UK administrator KPMG declined to comment on the U.S. claims.
The U.S. and British trustees are working behind the scenes to claw back MF Global client assets frozen when the trading firm collapsed on Oct.31 and plan to start reimbursing clients as soon as possible.
KPMG said on Friday "all but a tiny handful" of the failed futures broker's British client positions had been closed or transferred and about 600 million pounds ($929 million) of client monies had been recovered.
The administrator plans a special meeting for clients and creditors on Jan. 9 next year.
Investigators in the U.S. are searching for as much as $1.2 billion in missing customer money, which regulators believe may have been diverted out of client funds by MF Global for its own needs as it neared collapse.
Jill Sommers, who is heading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's review of MF Global, said a week ago: "We certainly don't want to lead anyone to believe we don't know what happened. We do know, and we see where all the transactions went."
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