Argentina: SCOTUS rules for the creditors
Two, not one, rulings regarding the 2001 defaulted bonds, upholding U.S. contract law; As I had mentioned earlier,
This is an interesting case, not just because Argentina initially had to issue the bonds with a guarantee that they would pay them in full because the country had already defaulted, but also because it may set a precedent for any future sovereign debt or municipal debt restructurings.
High Court Sides With Holdout Creditors in Argentina Debt Case
The U.S. Supreme Court handed Argentina a pair of legal setbacks in cases stemming from its 2001 default, a major blow for the country in its lengthy battle with holdout creditors
In one highly anticipated case, the justices rejected Argentina’s request that the high court intervene in litigation with holdout hedge funds that had refused to accept the country’s debt-restructuring offers.
The Supreme Court, without comment, left in place a lower-court ruling that said Argentina can’t make payments on its restructured debt unless it also pays the holdouts.
And then there’s the disclosure case,
In a second related case, the high court ruled that bank records about Argentina’s international assets can be made available to one holdout creditor seeking to collect on court judgments stemming from the default.
To add to the double whammy, the decision was 7 to 1; Lyle Denniston of SCOTUS blog explains,
Besides refusing to hear Argentina’s plea that U.S. courts had no authority to command how it, as a sovereign nation, deals with holders of its external debt, the Court silently turned aside a plea by Argentina to get an interpretation by New York state courts of just what legal obligations of equal treatment Argentina has undertaken in selling the now-defaulted bonds.
In contrast to the simple denial of those issues, the Court issued a full-dress opinion on the separate question of how wide an opportunity the holders of defaulted bonds would have to gather information from two banks about the location of Argentina’s financial assets overseas.
In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court rejected Argentina’s argument that those bondholders could only seek information about assets that that country keeps in the United States. Argentina had relied upon a 1976 U.S. law seeking to insulate foreign governments from some legal obligations in U.S. courts.
For one thing, Justice Scalia noted, Argentina had given up its immunity to demands for information about its assets that could be used to cover its obligations on debts. But, in addition, Scalia wrote, the 1976 law on foreign immunity simply says nothing at all about giving foreign governments immunity to demands that they produce information that may be necessary to satisfy a debt obligation they had undertaken.
This means the investors can get access to a wide number of bank records to locate financial assets overseas that they might be able to seize as compensation.
Argentina had sent a delegation to meet with Nancy Pelosi last week to discuss the debt,
Hours earlier, the Argentine delegation had lunch with former US solicitor-general Paul Clement — a legal adviser for the Argentine position against the hedge funds that have refused to restructure the country’s defaulted debt — and representatives from the Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton law firm.
Justice Sotomayor had recused herself.
You can read the decision in full here.
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Cristina Fernández will address the nation on television at 9 pm local time tonight.