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Argentina asks U.S. court to revert order on debt holdouts

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: December 30, 2012

Argentina, however, said it's willing to make concessions. To end the lengthy dispute, government lawyers said the country is willing to ask Congress to give holdout creditors the same treatment as those who joined a 2010 debt swap.

“The only definitive and equitable solution to pari passu claims that would bring legal and economic certainty is to treat plaintiffs and all other similarly situated claimants equitably on the same terms as participants in (Argentina's) 2010 Exchange Offer,” the brief said.

The new arguments are part of the final stage of Argentina's legal battle with NML Capital Ltd., the investment fund that brought the case and that specializes in suing over unpaid sovereign debts.

The U.S. government filed an “amicus,” or friends of the court brief, late Friday backing Argentina's request for a rehearing in the case citing that the appeals court order affects U.S.-Argentina relations, threatens the solution of future debt crises and blocks the legal immunity given to a sovereign country. It also says that it potentially blemishes the role of New York as financial center.

Argentina tarnished its reputation worldwide by engaging in the biggest sovereign debt default in history a decade ago. Since then, the government has restructured about 92 percent of its world record $95 billion debt default.

But Fernandez refuses to pay the holdouts calling NML Capital and others “vulture funds” for buying debt for pennies on the dollar in 2002, when Argentina's economy was in ruins and now wanting to collect in full.

The fiery, center-left leader says it was their loss for refusing two opportunities to swap defaulted bonds for new, less valuable bonds that the state has reliably paid since 2005.

NML Capital fund, run by billionaire Paul Singer and other plaintiffs, slammed Argentina's arguments late on Friday.

“With more than $43 billion in foreign currency reserves and tens of billions of dollars in additional resources, Argentina has the overwhelming capacity to pay the $1.3 billion it owes in this matter,” Peter Truell, spokesman for NML's parent company Elliott Management Corp., told The Associated Press in email.

“Today's filing by the Republic once again demonstrates Argentina's irrational persistence in evading its contractual obligations and the orders of U.S. courts.”

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Feb. 27 before the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

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