We think US Judge Thomas Griesa just wants to get the 15-year vulture funds quagmire over with and go home. And lucky him, it looks like things are actually going his way.
Yesterday, he ruled that he won’t allow any attempt by third parties to restrict or seize funds meant to be used by the Argentine government to pay the holdout creditors. “Any attempt to attack, restrain or otherwise encumber funds intended for settlement of any action would be contrary to the public interest,” Griesa said, adding that it is important for the economic health of Argentina for the settlement to go through.
Aw, Griesa. You do love us.
The ruling dispels any possible attempts to stop the payment deal from going through and gives creditors another incentive to accept the government’s offer by guaranteeing that funds going to them won’t be seized. His ruling also called for the banks issuing the debt payments to transfer funds directly to the holdout funds.
Argentina is supposed to issue US $12 billion in bonds to the creditors that have accepted the Argentine government’s offer. After a marathon all-nighter, the Lower House approved a bill supporting the deal with holdout creditors. It’s now up to the Senate to approve the bill and move forward in the holdouts settlements.
This latest move on Griesa’s part seems to be in line with him finally warming up to Argentina’s cause now that President Mauricio Macri’s government is well underway in ending the dispute. Back in February, he lifted an injunction called the “stay” he had previously instated which blocked the country from paying other debt payments before it paid the holdouts.
This is all part of a 15-year legal battle following Argentina’s economic meltdown in 2001, in which the country defaulted on its international debt. A group of creditors back then purchased some of the defaulted bonds and refused to accept debt restructuring plans in 2005 and 2010 that would have exchanged the original bonds for bonds worth 30 cents on the dollar, insisting instead the debt be repaid in full. Hence former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s nickname for them, “vultures”: she also swore that Argentina would “never” pay. New York Judge Thomas Griesa ruled in the holdouts’ favor and Argentina is now faced with negotiating the payment.