Argentina Asks Supreme Court To Hear Debt Case

Jun 26 2013 | 11:09am ET

Argentina vowed to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid paying Elliott Management and other holdouts from its defaulted debt restructuring, and now it has.

The country yesterday asked the high court to accept its appeal of an appeals-court decision that bars it from paying creditors who accepted its 2005 and 2010 debt exchanges before paying those who refused the exchanges. The same appeals court is now considering a lower court judge's orders that Argentina pay the holdouts in full; it is considered unlikely that the Supreme Court will grant certiorari and agree to hear the case while that case is outstanding. The second ruling from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals could come at any time; it heard arguments on the matter in March.

Argentina argues in its petition that the district and appeals court decisions ignore the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which limits lawsuits against foreign governments, and "represents an unprecedented intrusion into the activities of a foreign state within its own territory that raises significant foreign relations concerns for the United States." The bonds in question were issued in New York under U.S. law.

Argentina also said that, if it is forced to pay the holdouts, it would be exposed to $43 billion in new claims that would lead to another default.

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