What do you do after your company implodes and customer money goes missing? You collect a bonus, of course.
As many as 23 employees at MF Global, the brokerage firm that collapsed in October, might get bonuses for their assistance with the company's bankruptcy investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Among them are three higher-ups -- president and CEO Bradley Abelow, chief financial officer Henri Steenkamp, and general counsel Laurie Ferber -- who could take home bonuses of up to six figures each, according to the WSJ.
MF Global was one of the highest-profile financial failures of 2011, and news that some of its senior members might go home with major payouts -- reminiscent of the hundred million dollars paid in bonuses to AIG executives shortly after that company's bailout -- is unlikely to be well received by the firm's critics. The collapse of MF Global made headlines last fall for its sheer magnitude (it was the eighth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history) and for the way it seemed to confirm fears that the European sovereign debt crisis had the capacity to poison U.S. financial institutions.
The case also got a great deal of attention due to a massive shortfall on MF Global's books -- a gap of about $1.6 billion in customer funds that nobody, including ex-CEO and former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, could account for at first.
The missing money has been the source of much outrage and anxiety among MF Global's customers -- sentiments that were not soothed by revelations like that of Corzine pricing a chateau in the south of France while his company was circling the drain.
Most of that money has since been tracked down, according to The New York Times, although it remains unclear how much it will be possible to retrieve.
Meanwhile, authorities say that it may be impossible to attach a criminal charge to anyone affiliated with MF Global, citing difficulties with proving malicious intent.