February 28, 2012 / 2:57 PM / 8 years ago

CME Group reveals subpoenas in MF Global probe

CHICAGO (Reuters) - CME Group Inc received two subpoenas, including one for a criminal probe, in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of futures broker MF Global Holdings Ltd, the giant exchange operator said on Tuesday.

Former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine gestures as he testifies before a House Financial Services Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the collapse of MF Global, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 15, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MF Global, run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Jon Corzine, filed for bankruptcy on October 31 of last year, and regulators are still seeking roughly $1.6 billion of customer funds that went missing in the chaotic days before the firm’s implosion.

One day after the bankruptcy, a grand jury in Chicago made a demand for information and witnesses in connection with the MF Global probe, a CME Group spokeswoman said. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s enforcement division made a separate demand on November 3.

The Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CFTC and the SEC are all conducting investigations aimed at finding the money and fingering those responsible, the CME said.

But the months-old investigations have not so far led to any criminal charges. Lawyers and people familiar with the MF Global investigation told Reuters in early February that the trail to pinpoint any criminal wrongdoing at the brokerage is growing cold.

CME, the world’s biggest futures exchange operator with roots in Chicago dating to 1848, offers trading in contracts tied to oil, interest rates, grains and gold.

CME has been under pressure since MF Global’s failure, as trading volume dropped and customer confidence declined. The Chicago-based exchange operator was MF Global’s first-line regulator, in charge of auditing the firm. MF Global was also one of CME’s largest customers.

CME also received a document request, on January 31, from the Securities Investor Protection Corp trustee handling the liquidation of MF Global.

“We continue to believe that we acted appropriately and that our actions do not give rise to liability,” CME said in the filing.

The trustee for MF Global’s liquidation estimates the shortfall in customer funds related to U.S. trading to be roughly $900 million, with an additional $700 million in funds tied to trading on non-U.S. exchanges.

CME is also the target of several lawsuits stemming from MF Global’s collapse, it said.

Any company or exchange is legally obligated to disclose when it has received subpoenas and requests for information from prosecutors or regulators. If CME had been told it was the target of a criminal or regulatory probe, the exchange would be required to include that in its annual report.

CME is to its knowledge not a target of a criminal investigation, its spokeswoman said.

CME disclosed the subpoenas in an annual financial filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It had previously said it was cooperating with investigators.

CME shares were up 1.4 percent at $293.82 at midday on Tuesday.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman and Matthew Lewis

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