Supreme Court Skeptical Of Argentina On Subpoenas

Apr 21 2014 | 1:35pm ET

Argentina’s effort to block hedge-fund creditors from getting information about its overseas assets received a rough hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court today.

The justices indicated that they were not inclined to give Argentina’s banks blanket immunity from subpoenas issued by Elliott Management, which is fighting to force the country to pay its defaulted debt. But some of the court’s members, including Chief Justice John Roberts, indicated a desire to at least limit the hedge fund’s subpoenas.

Justice Antonin Scalia said that he didn’t believe the lower-court rulings ordering the banks to provide information went “beyond the bounds” of federal law, an opinion apparently shared by most of his colleagues. Roberts, on the other hand, called the breadth of Elliott’s subpoenas “pretty extraordinary” and suggested that they might be limited to commercial assets, excluding military and diplomatic assets that can’t be seized anyway.

The argument is something of a prelude to an expected battle before the high court over the meat of the dispute: Whether Argentina will be ordered to pay Elliott and other holdouts from its 2005 and 2010 debt exchanges. The country has vowed never to do so.

A ruling in the subpoenas case is expected in June or July.

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