An Argentine government delegation is traveling to New York on Monday to continue talks with court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack and the holdout, “vulture” funds. Scheduled to meet on Tuesday, the delegation hopes to reach an agreement with the holdout creditors before Wednesday´s payment deadline which is threatening to plummet the country into default.
Making up the delegation is Finance Secretary Pablo López, Legal and Technical Secretary Federico Thea and Treasury Procurer Angelina Abbona. After failing to reach an agreement this past Friday, the delegation is scheduled for another meeting with Pollack. At a press conference on Monday in Buenos Aires, Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said that in the meeting, “Argentina will look to reinstate a stay... All negotiations take time.”
Argentina requested a stay on Judge Thomas Griesa´s June 16 ruling which favored the holdout bonds, to allow more time for negotiations and avoid default, which was denied in last Tuesday´s hearing. Griesa has ordered Pollack to meet with both sides “promptly and continuously” up to Wednesday´s July 30th payment deadline.
Aurelius Capital Management LP, one of the principal holdouts in the 12-year legal battle, said that Argentina is “wholly undeserving of another stay.” Through the talks, Capitanich has stated that the delegation seeks to “defend national interests and ensure that the economic system continues functioning.”
The holdouts have been accused of being unwilling to negotiate with Argentina, as after buying defaulted bonds for 33 cents on the dollar following Argentina´s financial crash of 2001, in which the country defaulted on US$100 billion of debt, they have subsequently refused to take part in the 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings to which 92.4 percent of creditors agreed. Much of this debt was accumulated in the bloody military dictatorship lasting from 1976 to 1983, which disappeared an estimated 30,000 people.
The vulture fund NML capital, who bought up US$48.7 million, is looking to gain US$832 million, representing a return of 1,608 percent.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling demands that Argentina repay the full US$1.33 billion original bond value plus interest to the vulture funds. The ruling opens up the claims from other creditors trhough the “Rights upon Future Offers” (RUFO) clause, which could total US$15 billion, accounting for half of total national reserves.
On the RUFO clause, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has stated, “it´s not only absurd, but also impossible for a country to give over 50 percent of the total reserves in its Central Bank in one payment to creditors.”
If unable to reach an agreement or pay the full amount to the holdouts by Wednesday, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has stated that the country would be forced into technical default. Both she and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof have stated that Argentina is not willing “to submit to extorsion.”
Regarding Wednesday's deadline, Pollack said, “I am available to the Republic at any and all times, either in person or by telephone, in view both of the gravity of this situation and the shortness of time to resolve it without default.”