Elliott Takes On Vietnam

Dec 13 2011 | 2:23am ET

Add Vietnam to the list of countries on Elliott Associates' legal hitlist.

The New York-based hedge fund filed suit against the Southeast Asian country's state-owned shipbuilder, Vinashin, over that company's default one year ago on a US$600 million syndicated loan. Elliott, which sued Vinashin in the U.K. last month, has not shied away from suing national governments or state-owned companies, having tussled with Argentina, the Republic of Congo and Peru.

In its latest sovereign fight, Elliott is seeking full value, where Vinashin is offering about 35 cents on the dollar. Last year, Vinashin's CEO and other top managers were arrested, accused of mishandling its finances.

Elliott calculates its investment and interest at $13.2 million.

According to the hedge fund, the Vietnamese government backed the Vinashin debt, a guarantee that led Standard & Poor's to rate the loan on a level with Vietnam's sovereign debt. But Vietnam has since said that the shipbuilder's debts are not its responsibility.

Since 2000, Elliott won a legal battle against the Peruvian government and a settlement with the Republic of Congo. It is still battling Argentina over that country's 2002 default.

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