NEW YORK — A lawyer for Argentina has told a Manhattan judge that his orders have caused bondholders to demand $4.7 billion since June, creating an "impossible situation" for the South American nation.
Attorney Carmine Boccuzzi said in a letter dated Thursday that 25 new lawsuits seeking the bond money have been filed against Argentina, worsening the legal threat it faces as it continues to recover from financial troubles.
He told U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa that the lawsuits were filed after the judge ordered Argentina earlier this year to pay U.S. hedge funds in full before making interest payments to the majority of the country's bondholders. The U.S. bondholders bought Argentina bonds on the cheap after Argentina in 2001 defaulted on $100 billion of debt.
Boccuzzi said the U.S. hedge funds that are owed roughly $1.5 billion and those bondholders who brought lawsuits since June are among the 8 percent of Argentina bondholders who refused to swap their bonds for lesser-valued bonds in 2005 and 2010.
He said the new multibillion dollar claims had demonstrated the inefficiency of the judge's orders "and the impossible situation in which they put the republic."
The lawyer noted that the judge recently expanded a special master's powers to include negotiations with additional Argentina creditors and that additional claims against the republic were likely still to be made.
He said the $28 billion that Argentina has in reserves must be used for critical macroeconomic purposes and are not available to pay creditors in full, as court judgments require.
Much of the debt payments being demanded were "purchased at a deep discount in the secondary market with the aim of extracting through litigation better terms than the vast majority of the republic's creditors who participated in the republic's debt restructuring," he said.
In September, Griesa found Argentina in contempt of court for its open defiance of his orders.
Robert Cohen, a lawyer for U.S. bondholders led by billionaire hedge fund investor Paul Singer's NML Capital Ltd., said in a statement Friday that the bondholders who have refused to swap their bonds have provided the judge a constructive way for Argentina to resolve its debt dispute with all of its creditors.
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