This Monday, Argentina finally got a breath of legal fresh air in the Argentina vs. holdouts (AKA vultures) ordeal. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that although Argentina must still pay the original holdouts, it should not pay the so-called “me too” debt holders. This overturns District Judge Thomas Griesa’s June 2015 ruling that added an additional US $5.4 billion to Argentina’s bill with international creditors.
In a nutshell, Argentina defaulted on US $100 billion in 2001. A group of hedge funds known affectionately as “vulture” funds for their raison d’être of purchasing defaulted securities and suing for full value purchased some of these defaulted instruments and (shockingly) sued for face value rather than accept the swap the exchanged about 30 cents on the dollar.
Griesa ruled that Argentina must pay these holdout creditors to the tune of US $1.3 billion in order to continue making payments on restructured debt, as well as to issue new international debt that in any way comes into contact with US financial institutions. He later ruled that additional holdout creditors who had NOT participated in the lengthy multiyear lawsuit (me too creditors) could dog pile on and receive a full payout as well.
So this Court of Appeals ruling takes Argentina’s outstanding debt bill back down to US $1.3 billion, rather than US $6.7 billion.