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News :: International : Politics
Argentina Lower House Repeals Laws to Support Hedge Fund Debt Deal
16 Mar 2016
Argentina's lower house of Congress voted 165-86 to repeal two laws that blocked the country from settling its decade-long debt dispute with a group of "hold-out" investors.
Argentina's lower house of Congress voted 165-86 to repeal two laws that blocked the country from settling its decade-long debt dispute with a group of "hold-out" investors. A US judge approved the $4.65 billion agreement on March 2 on the condition that Argentina's congress revoke the two laws.‎ Argentina's Senate now faces an April 14 deadline to also repeal the laws.

"Argentina and the hedge funds have almost finalized the deal," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA and a United Nations debt expert who tracked the case for six years. "Unfortunately the settlement encourages predatory firms to target countries facing financial crisis."

According to Argentina US Court filings, the settlement awards some of the hedge funds profits of over 1000% after they bought Argentina's debt cheaply following its 2001 default.

The Argentine lower house repealed the “Padlock Law,” which prevented Argentina from giving those "hold-out" funds better terms than it gave investors who accepted the settlements. It also repealed the “Sovereign Payment Law,” which attempted to reroute payments to those investors in defiance of a US court order.

The hedge funds NML Capital, Aurelius Capital Management and other "hold-outs" previously rejected debt settlement offers accepted by 92% of Argentina's creditors. These so-called "vulture funds" won rulings in US courts ordering Argentina not to pay back the investors who already accepted debt deals until the hold-out hedge funds received full repayment.

"The difficulties in resolving this case are why we need a global bankruptcy process," noted LeCompte. "If we had an international bankruptcy system, predatory actors wouldn't be able to profit while legitimate investors lose out."

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 550 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee's mission is to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org

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