US Judge Holds Argentina in Contempt of Court

Country's lawyers call finding 'completely absurd'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2014 5:05 PM CDT
US Judge Holds Argentina in Contempt of Court
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez speaks during the ceremony for the160th anniversary of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014.   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

A New York judge has found Argentina in contempt of court for its open defiance of his orders regarding US hedge funds that hold Argentina bonds. Judge Thomas Griesa made the finding today at a Manhattan hearing. He reserved decision on sanctions pending further proceedings. Lawyers for the US hedge funds led by billionaire hedge fund investor Paul Singer told the judge in court papers that Argentina's refusal to comply with his orders was a clear case of contempt of court. Argentina owes the US bond holders $1.5 billion.

Lawyers for Argentina forwarded to the judge a letter sent to US Secretary of State John Kerry saying the request for a contempt-of-court finding was "completely absurd." Argentina said such an order would be unlawful by international standards. The case goes back to 2001, when Argentina defaulted on $95 billion in debt and rocked markets worldwide, Bloomberg reports. Most of the debt holders took on new bonds at a roughly 70% discount, but some of the hedge funds and investors sued in US court to retrieve full payment. (More Argentina stories.)

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