J.P. Morgan Starts Plugging MF Global Hole

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In a settlement reached late yesterday, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) has agreed to return $546 million to investors of now-bankrupt MF Global. The settlement also brings another $600 million closer for customers who traded with the failed broker on foreign exchanges. Remember, a total of $1.6 billion in customer funds went missing after MF Global filed for bankruptcy in late October of 2011.

J.P. Morgan has released its claims on $417 million in MF Global funds that had been returned to the bankruptcy trustee. The big bank also kicked in $100 million in added funds to pay MF Global’s customers and will return $29 million related to obligations it had incurred under an MF Global credit facility.

The $600 million repayment for customers who used foreign exchanges has been delayed by differences between U.S. and U.K. bankruptcy laws.

Alas, all $1.6 billion is unlikely to be returned to MF Global’s customers. According to the trustee, if the deal announced yesterday is approved, U.S. customers of MF Global could receive “several percentage points” more than 93% of what is owed to them. Customers who used foreign exchanges can look for repayment totaling several points above a range of 75% to 82%.