|President Barack Obama and President of Argentina Cristina Fernández in 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
New York federal judge Thomas Griesa has now ordered the South American nation to make a $1.3bn bond payment, favoring Paul Singer -US billionaire and head of investment firm Elliot Management- among other bondholders tied to the country´s record-breaking default a decade ago.
Central administration is due to pay in December 15th but Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has already warned such “gambling” groups are seeking a “technical default” compromising sovereign decisions by sovereign states. Press TV
- Argentina Says Advanced Nations Should Restrict ‘Vulture Funds’ - Bloomberg
- Argentina loses New York court case, owes vulture fund $1.3bn
Fresh off its success in seizing a 100m-long tall ship owned by the Argentine navy from a Ghanaian port, Elliott Capital Management – the biggest and boldest of Argentina's "vulture funds" – has secured what looks like a final victory over the country in the New York courts. Argentina is now caught in the unenviable position of either paying back debt which it thought it had defaulted on a decade ago (and which Argentine president Cristina Kirchner has sworn not to do), or default on entirely new debt, which it has both the will and the funds to stay current on.
The problem Elliott has had is that Argentina, as a sovereign nation, can't be bound by any court judgement. Once it decides not to pay up on bonds – as it did when it defaulted on its debt in late 2001 – there is very little its creditors can do.
Mrs. Nkona-Mashabane was an activist during the apartheid and is overly familiar with the meaning of political struggle. During our conversation we shared our views on vulture funds, an issue affecting both Africa and Latin America. These investment ventures, marketed as "distressed debt funds," purchase debt of countries on the brink of default for a fraction of the bonds' worth hoping to recoup the full value through legal challenges in foreign courts. Such strategies are frequently rewarded by bailout actions targeted at alleviating poverty and instability -- such as debt restructuring in African nations -- or debt restructuring in which most bond-holders, such as pensioners and small investors receive important "haircuts," as happened in Greece earlier this year.