Singer Slams Argentina In Letter To Investors

Jan 31 2013 | 11:45am ET

Elliott Associates' Paul Singer had a lot to crow about in his fourth-quarter investor letter, with both of his firm's funds up over 12% last year. But he spent much of it trashing his greatest enemy, Argentina.

Elliott's lawyers have recently taken a softer line with Argentina in the hedge fund's ongoing battle with the country over its 2001 debt default. Not so Singer: He blasted the country and its leaders for their response to a major legal defeat in October.

"The nation’s highest officials—including President Cristina Kirchner—immediately, loudly, and repeatedly declared that Argentina would not comply with the court’s order," Singer wrote. "They even called the decision 'judicial colonialism,' which is quite puzzling since in its bond contract Argentina chose irrevocably both to submit itself to the jurisdiction of New York courts and to waive its sovereign immunity. The hypocrisy was also thick considering that Argentina proudly accepts U.S. court rulings that fall in favor of the Republic. Given Argentina’s hawkish and incoherent hyperbole following the ruling, it is hardly difficult to understand why the global community (in both the public and private sectors) has lost patience with the Kirchner Administration."

He wasn't done.

"The lesson is painfully obvious: the inexhaustible disregard for the rule of law by the political class has cost the Republic, its provinces and local businesses tens of billions of dollars in debt service, and it will continue to stand in the way of an Argentine economic recovery."

"Nonetheless, Argentina continues to thumb its nose at the international community by picking and choosing at its own discretion which laws it will observe and which ones it will ignore," Singer continued.

There were some positives. Singer mentioned that Elliott's movie investments may be paying off: One is Les Misérables, which recently won three Golden Globes and has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Singer said "it will be several more weeks before we begin to have any reliable idea of the economic performance" of the film, "but early indications are promising." Singer said Elliott's Beverly Boulevard II, a joint-venture with Relativity Media, is set to release seven films over the next two years.


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