Senators Advise Against Paying MF Global Bonuses

MARCY GORDON

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Senators are telling the trustee overseeing MF Global that it would be outrageous to pay bonuses to top executives of the collapsed brokerage firm that was led by former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. They say it would be wrong to pay bonuses while about $1.6 billion of customers' money hasn't been recovered.

All the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee signed a letter sent Thursday to former FBI director Louis Freeh, who acts on behalf of MF Global creditors as trustee. The committee is one of several congressional panels investigating MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy protection Oct. 31.

"It is absolutely outrageous to propose paying bonuses to the very people who were responsible for the firm's operational, legal and financial management at the time customer money disappeared," the letter said.

The Wall Street Journal had reported last week that Freeh was planning to seek permission for paying bonuses.

Freeh has since said he hasn't decided whether to ask the bankruptcy judge to approve bonuses for the executives.

The Journal said Freeh planned to ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn to approve bonuses for Bradley Abelow, MF Global's president and chief operating officer; Chief Financial Officer Henri Steenkamp, General Counsel Laurie Ferber and about 20 other executives, who are helping Freeh unravel the firm's finances. The Journal story cited unnamed people familiar with the situation.

Freeh said in a letter Monday to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who earlier had objected to the payment of bonuses, that he hadn't yet made any recommendations to the bankruptcy court or "any decisions on the subject, notwithstanding reports to the contrary that have appeared in the media."

There was no immediate response from Freeh on Thursday to the letter from the Senate Agriculture Committee, which is led by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Democratic senator from Michigan.

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