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Corzine called to Congress on bankrupt MF Global

NEW YORK - Jon Corzine has been called to testify at a congressional hearing over the collapse of financial firm MF Global.

Corzine, the former New Jersey governor and U.S. senator, resigned as the firm's chairman and CEO earlier this month.

The House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee called on Corzine to testify at a hearing to be held on Dec. 15. The hearing will focus on the decisions and events that led to the collapse of the brokerage firm, the effectiveness of its regulators, and the impact of its bankruptcy on customers.

MF Global collapsed after making a disastrous bet on European debt. It filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31.

MF Global is being investigated by regulators and the FBI over whether it violated securities and criminal laws.

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On Monday, the court-appointed trustee overseeing the firm's bankruptcy said up to $1.2 billion is missing from customer accounts, double what the firm had reported to regulators last month.

The trustee, James Giddens, also said in a statement that his plans to release about $520 million from accounts that have been frozen will mean nearly all the assets under his control will be distributed. Giddens has been combing through the firm's accounts and finances.

Regulators are investigating whether MF Global tapped money from clients' accounts as its own financial condition worsened. That would be a violation of securities rules.

Giddens' office said in a statement that "the apparent shortfall" was as much as $1.2 billion or more, but noted that the figure could change.

Last week, the judge overseeing the bankruptcy proceeding approved Giddens' request that 60 percent of the funds in about 23,300 frozen cash-only accounts be returned to customers. The money could start moving to customers before Thanksgiving, a spokesman for Giddens said.

Giddens has previously returned to customers $1.5 billion in collateral for their trading accounts with MF Global. He has a goal of eventually returning 100 percent of all funds to customers, though that could be reduced by the apparent shortfall.

Customers use the accounts for trading derivatives. The value of derivatives is based on the value of an underlying asset, such as interest rates, oil prices or currency rates. MF Global was one of the biggest players in the derivatives market.