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News :: International
Jubilee USA Network Stops Vulture Funds and Wins Critical Victory on International Debt Relief in New York State Legislature
25 Jun 2012
Legislation in New York State Assembly and Senate, if passed, would have allowed Vulture Funds to take advantage of poor countries

WASHINGTON, DC – Two pieces of legislation to promote Vulture Funds in the New York State Legislature, A7967 and S3767 were killed after New York constituents and faith groups were led by Jubilee USA Network and American Jewish World Service in opposition to both Bills.

"I commend those lawmakers who stopped passage of legislation that would undermine international debt relief," said Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service. "Vulture funds engage in predatory practices designed to extract resources from some of the poorest countries on the planet as well as U.S. taxpayers."

Vulture Funds seek out the debts of countries in financial crisis and buy the debts for pennies on the dollar. These hedge funds often use New York courts and laws to coerce poor countries to pay the vultures who refuse to participate with all the other creditors in reaching a comprehensive agreement. The laws supported by the vulture funds would have undermined international debt relief efforts by forcing the vultures to be in paid in full in order for an agreement to move forward with the participating creditors.

“Vulture Funds have been known to make a 400% profit while the nations they take the money from lack the resources to provide citizens with the most basic of social services,” said Eric LeCompte, Jubilee’s Executive Director. “It was critical that these pieces of New York State legislation were killed in Committee so that Vulture Funds will not be able to use this as another weapon in their arsenal to prey on poor people.”

Although groups like the New York State Bar Association and Business Council noted that this Vulture Fund Legislation was not in the public interest, the high powered lobbying firms and the endless resources of the Vulture Funds were winning.

Vulture Funds were trying to push through this legislation at the end of the legislative session in New York - an attempt to push it through in the dead of night. However, 4,000 New York Jubilee constituents moved the legislature on A7967 and S3767. One of these pieces of legislation would have allowed these funds to litigate poor countries into submission. Countries like Zambia, the Ivory Coast, Paraguay and Argentina could have all been impacted.

"Right now I am in Liberia, which has seen firsthand how Vulture Funds operate. Instead of working with the international community to assist the Liberians recovery from years of civil war and destruction, the Vulture Funds refused to participate with virtually every other creditor in restructuring Liberia's debt. Instead, they sued for a sum greater than Liberia's annual health budget,” shared American Jewish World Service President, Ruth Messinger.

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations, 200 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee USA Network has won critical global financial reforms and more than 100 billion dollars in debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. American Jewish World Service Inspired by Judaism’s commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. www.ajws.org

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