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US high court rejects Argentina's appeal over debt
US Supreme Court rejects Argentina's appeal over defaulted debt, lets $1.3B judgment stand
Associated Press
2014-06-16 10:22 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away Argentina's appeal of lower court rulings ordering it to pay more than $1.3 billion to hedge funds that hold some of the country's defaulted bonds.

The justices did not comment in leaving in place court rulings that Argentina says could threaten its economy if it has to pay off the old debt.

The dispute stems from debt left unpaid when the Argentine economy crashed in 2001. Hedge funds led by billionaire Paul Singer's NML Capital Ltd. bought some of the unpaid debt and refused to accept bonds of lesser value in exchange for regular debt payments. Holders of 92 percent of the defaulted bonds agreed to the deal.

Argentina asked the Supreme Court to intervene because it said that making the country pay cash in full to investors who didn't accept bond swaps in exchange for defaulted debt could destabilize the global economy by making other voluntary debt restructurings much harder.

Lawyers for Argentina said that full payment would cut the country's reserves roughly in half. They also said that lower courts which ruled against Argentina were ignoring federal law that generally protects other nations in American courts and could make U.S. assets more vulnerable to lawsuits filed abroad.

Singer won a judgment of $1.3 billion plus interest in the debt dispute, but has never been able to collect despite sending lawyers around the world to try to seize Argentine assets.

The courts in New York accepted his argument that Argentina has been a deadbeat nation and a serial violator of U.S. court rulings.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor took no part in the case.

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