Mere days after the collapse of MF Global, I was told by someone who would have reason to know that the key to unraveling the MF mystery was Edith O’Brien, the firm’s assistant treasurer. A year later, Ms. O’Brien is still in limbo, refusing to testify without immunity from prosecution.
The likelihood that Ms. O’Brien would have conceived of and executed a massive fraud-the looting of MF Global customer segregated funds-is close to zero. If there was a crime, it would have been conceived of and directed by someone far higher in the firm than Ms. O’Brien.
Prosecutors routinely give immunity to low-level employees in order to build a case against higher executives. Prosecutors in the MF Global matter seem to be deviating from that routine. This raises questions, the most notable of which is: are they departing from SOP because the individual who could be implicated is a well-known and highly connected Democratic politician, a former governor and senator, and bundler for Obama?
Maybe there’s a different explanation, but I’m hard pressed to think of one.