Argentina To Appeal Pro-Elliott Default Rulings To Supreme Court

Feb 18 2014 | 9:55am ET

Argentina will again seek the help of the U.S. Supreme Court in its battle with hedge funds over its 2002 default.

The country is set to formally appeal lower-court decisions ordering it to pay holdout bondholders—led by Elliott Management—$1.33 billion. The deadline for seeking a writ of certiorari from the U.S.'s highest court is today.

The Supreme Court last month agreed to hear Argentina's appeal of subpoenas issued by Elliott about the country's assets. But the court last year refused to take the main case, as the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals was still considering it.

That court, one step below the Supreme Court, rejected Argentina's bid for a rehearing of its case in November. Earlier last year, the Second Circuit had sided with the trial judge in the case, Thomas Griesa, who ordered Argentina to pay the holdouts.

Argentina has refused to do so, calling Elliott and its fellow holdouts "vulture funds." But Griesa's ruling bars Argentina from making payments on its restructured debt without paying the holdouts, a situation that could lead to another default.

Should the Supreme Court accept the case, it will see a battle between two former U.S. solicitors general: Argentina is represented by Paul Clement, who represented the U.S. government before the high court in George W. Bush's second term, while Elliott's lawyer is Theodore Olson, who held the post in Bush's first term.

Since the November ruling, Argentina's economy has gone into a tailspin, with inflation soaring and its currency, the peso, falling nearly 20%.

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