MF Global on Friday won court approval of a plan to liquidate its assets, pay back creditors and end the $40 billion bankruptcy that rocked the financial world in 2011.
The commodities brokerage, run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, collapsed after investors were spooked by its exposure to about $6.3 billion in European sovereign debt.
The approval marked a major step in ending the massive Chapter 11 filing, as MF Global is now able to implement the plan and pay creditors.
Judge Martin Glenn approved the plan at a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, after noting the "long road" to confirmation.
"While there have been some very strongly held views and differences, counsel have worked exceedingly well together to resolve most of them, limiting what the court had to decide," Glenn said.
The case became a political fire storm after it was discovered that about $1.6 billion was missing from the accounts of the broker's commodities trader customers. Regulators later determined that MF Global had misappropriated the customer money to cover liquidity gaps as it faltered.
RARE APPEARANCE BY FREEH
Louis Freeh, the trustee liquidating MF Global's estate, made a rare public appearance at Friday's court hearing, providing some reassurance to customers.
"I do firmly believe the customers in this case will be made whole," said Freeh, the former FBI director.
Most customers have already been reimbursed for about 93 percent of the value of their accounts.
While Corzine has not faced criminal charges, he and several other MF Global officials have been ordered to testify at numerous congressional hearings. Also, congressional committees, the FBI and the Securities & Exchange Commission have launched investigations into the source of missing customer money.
No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the case, and Corzine has denied wrongdoing.
Regulators have placed some of the blame for the company's downfall on Corzine.
On Thursday, Freeh released a report pointing to his negligence, citing "the risky business strategy engineered and executed by Corzine and other officers and their failure to improve the company's inadequate systems.
The report came several months after a similar account from James Giddens, the trustee working to recover money for the broker-dealer's trader customers, which concluded that Corzine mismanaged the firm's growth.
Corzine is facing civil lawsuits from Giddens and former customers.