Friends of the man at the center of a $141.5 million trading scandal that has rocked the commodities world defended him today as a smart, charismatic man with a strong work ethic and a quick wit.
"I don't think he would ever intentionally hurt anybody or do anything wrong intentionally," Chris Cornell said of his one-time college classmate Evan Dooley.
"He's just not that kind of guy," Cornell told ABC News.
Dooley, 40, who is known to his friends by his middle name, Brent, stands accused of making bad bets on wheat prices that resulted in mammoth losses for his employer, Bermuda-based MF Global Ltd.. Dooley, who worked for MF Global's Memphis, Tenn., branch, traded wheat contracts in amounts that substantially exceeded trading limits, the company said.
An MF Global spokeswoman told ABC News that Dooley was fired Thursday morning.
Dooley blamed the loss on the computer trading systems he used, according to an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The system "failed on a lot of things," he told the newspaper.
Efforts by ABC News to reach Dooley were unsuccessful.
In a conference call Thursday, MF Global chief executive Kevin Davis declined to comment on Dooley's criticism.
"We are working internally to investigate all the circumstances" surrounding Dooley's trades, Davis said.
Cornell, himself a corporate bond trader, said that Dooley has had a successful career. Dooley worked in the commodities trading business since his college days, when he interned at McVean Trading and Investments in Memphis. He joined MF Global in November 2005, according to the company.
"The way you paint success, especially in our business, is how well you do financially and how you move up the ladder," Cornell said. "Brent did well financially."
Cornell and James Whitehead both attended the University of Memphis with Dooley in the late 1980s. The three pledged and later became brothers at the same fraternity house, the university's chapter of SAE.
Dooley played intramural basketball and flag football with the fraternity's team. He eventually held leadership positions in the house.
"Really the thing I remember most about Brent is that he was always smiling," Whitehead said. "He always had a great sense of humor, he cared about how other people were doing. He was just as very friendly."
Today, Dooley lives in Olive Branch, Miss., a growing suburb. He has at least one child, friends said, and is a committed family man who is involved in his church.
He's "the guy next door," said Whitehead, a partner at a Memphis financial firm, who still occasionally meets Dooley for breakfast.
"I don't know how it happened, but I can assure you that in the worst case, it's a mistake," Whitehead said. "I don't think in any way Brent Dooley would ever be deceitful."