Elliott Says Argentina’s Not Talking

Jul 14 2014 | 5:14am ET

Two weeks away from default, Argentina is still refusing to sit down with hedge-fund holdouts from its last default 13 years ago, one of them said Friday.

Representatives of the country met on Friday with court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack for the second time last week. Pollack also met with the holdouts, led by Elliott Management and Aurelius Capital Partners, but separately; Argentina has yet to meet face-to-face with the hedge funds.

“Argentina is still refusing to negotiate with its creditors, either directly or indirectly, about any aspect of this dispute, and we have not heard that it has any plans to change course,” Elliott’s NML Capital said in a statement. “Simply put, we have not seen any indication that Argentina is serious about even beginning a negotiation.”

Argentina faces a July 30 deadline to either pay the holdouts $1.5 billion, or default on its restructured debt. U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa, who appointed Pollack, has barred the country from paying the latter without also paying the former.

“They each presented their positions to me, but not in the presence of the other side,” Pollack said. “No resolution has been reached. It is my hope that there will be future dialogue.”

Separately, Argentina’s trustee bank is seeking relief of its own. The Bank of New York Mellon accepted a $539 million deposit from the country on June 26, as Argentina moved to pay restructured creditors in spite of Griesa’s orders. The money remains at the bank, which has now formally asked Griesa what to do with it.

When he barred BNY Mellon from making the payments, Griesa suggested that it simply return the money to Argentina. The bank is now asking to be permitted to hold on to it for the time being, to avoid being sued—as it already has been by holders of euro-denominated Argentine debt.

BNY Mellon said that an order to return the funds would “threaten immediate harm” in the form of a wave of lawsuits, a situation that would be “fundamentally unfair,” it complained to Griesa.

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