NEW YORK – The court-appointed mediator in a long-running debt dispute pitting Argentina against holdout hedge funds said Wednesday that President-elect Mauricio Macri’s incoming administration intended to negotiate a settlement.
Attorney Daniel Pollack, appointed by U.S. District Judge in Manhattan, Thomas Griesa, said in a statement that he had met “earlier this week” at his office in New York with Argentina’s incoming finance secretary, Luis Caputo, who had requested the meeting.
“Mr. Caputo expressed to Mr. Pollack the intention of the new administration to commence such negotiations promptly after they are sworn into office on Thursday, December 10,” the mediator’s office said in a statement.
No date has been set for the negotiations, according to Pollack, who confirmed that he also met last week with representatives of hedge funds that “hold approximately $10 billion of judgments against Argentina.”
Elliott Management Corp. founder and CEO Paul Singer’s NML Capital Ltd. and other hedge funds that acquired Argentine bonds on the secondary market at large discounts following Buenos Aires’ massive 2001 debt default – and refused to take part in debt restructurings in 2005 and 2010 accepted by 93 percent of creditors – won a judgment in Griesa’s court in 2012.
Griesa, citing a violation of the bonds’ “pari passu” (equal treatment) clause, ordered Argentina to pay that initial group of litigating holdouts $1.3 billion plus interest before making further payments to the exchange bondholders.
Other holdout bondholders, known as “me too” litigants, won similar judgments against Argentina in Griesa’s court this year, bringing the total owed by the South American country to around $10 billion.
The origins of Argentina’s debt default, a decision adopted amid a financial meltdown and economic depression, go back to Argentina’s 1976-1983 military regime, which presided over a 465 percent expansion in public indebtedness.