He didn't plead the fifth as many expected. Jon Corzine made his first public remarks at a House committee hearing in Washington -- to explain how billions of dollars of customers money is missing after investment banking giant MF Global declared the 8th largest bankruptcy in history while he was CEO.

"I apologize both personally and on behalf of the company to our customers, our employees and our investors. I truly know that they are bearing the brunt of the impact of the firm's bankruptcy."

Looking visibly shaken, former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine apologized to investors, customers and employees of the failed brokerage firm and told lawmakers he has no idea what happened to the $1.2 billion in missing client money.

"I simply do not know where the money is or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date," Corizine told a House Agricultural Committee.

Audio of Corzine's testimony: 

He said several times that he did not become aware of the shortfall in client accounts until Oct. 30, one day before MF Global filed for bankruptcy following its disastrous bets on European debt.

"I'm not in a position, given the number of transactions, to know anything specific about the movement of any specific funds," said Corzine, who took over as CEO more than a year and a half ago.

But, Corzine did takes some of the blame for the firm's risky bets on European debt that happened under his watch.

"I ultimately had responsibility for the firm, I did not however, did not involve myself in the general mechanics of the clearing and settlement of trades or the clearing of collateral."

Corzine also said he was unaware, "whether there were operational errors at MF Global or whether banks had held onto funds that should rightfully have been returned to the company."

He also said he offered to testify to Congress without subponea in January, by which time he might have been better able to prepare.

This was the first of three hearings for which Corzine has been subpoenaed to testify.

   Courtesy Associated Press