February 28, 2013
Soon To Be Crying: Argentina
Posted by David Zaring

Argentina has appealed from Judge Greisa's "shoot the village" sanctions order in the long-running litigation against a hold out hedge fund that refused to go along with a debt restructuring; it has the financial community in a tizzy because it requires financial intermediaries to help the court enforce its controversial judgment in favor of the hedge fund.  But the oral argument did not go well.  As DealBook observes:

The dispute started out over a relatively small amount of debt that Argentina defaulted on over 10 years ago. But, as the case progressed in the United States courts, its significance has grown. Its outcome will test the extent to which an American court can pressure a foreign government to take actions to comply with American laws. Some debt market specialists believe a defeat for Argentina could make it harder for countries overwhelmed by debt to ease their obligations through a managed default.

And Anna Gelpern has a massively comprehensive post on the whole thing over at Credit Slips, including an interesting observation that the country, which does not look to be doing well in all of this, is preparing its own shoot-the-village-we-hate-foreign-courts response:

One of the bigger bombshells of the day came from Argentina in the form of the statement that it would default on everyone unless the Court adopted something like its payment formula. The fact that the statement was made with the Vice President and the Economy Minister sitting in the room made it feel like an even bigger deal. Jonathan Blackman's [ed.: Argentina's lawyer] contention was that sovereigns do not and cannot -- and Argentina will not --  "voluntarily obey" foreign judgments against their own domestic law and public policy. Argentina's submission to U.S. jurisdiction was made subject to the understanding that under FSIA, some judgments could go unenforced, and them's the ropes.

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