Raymond Doherty 24 Mar 2017 10:55am

PwC settles $3bn MF Global lawsuit

The Big Four firm has settled the $3bn (£2.4bn) claim brought by collapsed brokerage firm MF Global for an undisclosed amount
Caption: PwC settled another lawsuit by MF Global investors for $65m in 2015.

The trial began this month in New York following a 2014 suit from MF Global, which claimed that “erroneous accounting advice” led the company to invest heavily in European sovereign debt, leading to massive losses.

MF Global collapsed in October 2011 following a liquidity crisis caused by the $6.3bn investment in European bonds.

"The case was settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties," said a PwC spokesman.

The firm settled another lawsuit by MF Global investors for $65m in 2015.

Earlier this week the judge dismissed a motion by PwC for a mistrial, as the firm claimed that MF Global’s position had changed during the trial, according to reports.

MF Global’s administrators argued during the trial that PwC had advised the brokerage firm that it could account for debt investments made through “repurchase to maturity” transactions as sales. This meant the firm could book the revenue immediately rather than record it as secured financings.

“PwC had a job, one job – to properly audit MF Global’s financial statements and give credibility that those statements were fair and accurate. But PwC botched its job,” Daniel Fetterman of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, representing MF Global’s administrator, told the jury, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The Big Four firm, which previously dismissed the lawsuit as “baseless”, has denied any wrongdoing and argued that MF’s demise was of its own making.

PwC’s lawyers argued that former New Jersey governor and MF Global CEO Jon Corzine was the “mastermind”, whose risky strategy on the sovereign debt led to its downfall.

“Pricewaterhouse did not commit malpractice in its audits of MF Global and is not at all to blame, not one bit, for the bankruptcy,” they added.