Argentina took out paid ads in major US newspapers for the second weekend running on Sunday, slamming an “absurd” American court decision as a ploy “to bring us down to our knees.”
The country is poised to default on its debt for a second time in 13 years if a payments deal cannot be achieved by Monday with hedge funds holding $1.3 billion in bonds.
Judge Thomas Griesa, in New York, said Friday a deposit from Argentina towards paying off restructured debt was illegal unless the hedge funds — which Buenos Aires brands “vulture funds” — were also paid.
Under the title “Argentina Pays,” the full-page ad, signed “Presidency of the nation Argentine Republic,” appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times on Sunday.
The lengthy statement accused Griesa of “bias in favor of the vulture funds.”
“His true intentions are crystal clear: to push Argentina into default so as to destroy the 2005-2010 debt restructuring agreement that it reached with 92.4% of its creditors following lengthy negotiations,” it said.
The ad went on: “But he will not achieve his goal for quite a simple reason: the Argentine Republic will meet its obligations, pay off its debt and honor its commitments, as it has been doing, it order to put an end to the ploy of presenting an absurd court decision with systemic effects at International level as ‘technical default.’
“Which is merely a sophisticated way of trying to bring us down to our knees before global usurers.”
Griesa on Friday warned Buenos Aires that any further payment attempts would put it in contempt, and said the $539 million sitting in an account of Bank of New York Mellon should be returned.
He told the South American country to expedite negotiations to settle with the hedge funds, who held out from joining the 2005 and 2010 restructuring of Argentina’s defaulted debt.
Griesa has ordered Argentina to pay both the holdouts, NML Capital and Aurelius Management, and holders of the restructured bonds at the same time, by Monday’s deadline.