Argentine naval ship detained in Ghana by bondholders

Wed Oct 3, 2012 9:31am EDT

* Navy frigate detained in Ghana by debt holdouts

* Argentine gov't blasts latest "attack" by creditors

* Investors owning defaulted bonds have sued Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 3 (Reuters) - An Argentine navy ship has been detained in Ghana following a court order sought by "holdout" creditors suing Argentina in international courts over its 2002 debt default, officials said on Wednesday.

Argentina declared a world-record sovereign default during an economic meltdown a decade ago. It faces numerous lawsuits in U.S. courts by bondholders who want to recover the full value of the defaulted bonds and have sought to freeze state assets.

The bondholders, which the left-leaning government of President Cristina Fernandez calls vulture funds, normally target foreign bank accounts held by state-run companies or government agencies.

"The vulture funds have crossed a new line in their attacks on Argentina," a Foreign Ministry statement said. "The Foreign Ministry has already approached the African nation to clarify the stunt pulled by the unscrupulous financiers."

It said NML Capital Ltd, an affiliate of the investment firm Elliott Management, had sought the court order.

A navy source said the Libertad, a frigate that is used as a training vessel, would only be able to set sail if Ghanian courts lifted the order.

The Libertad was visiting Ghana as part of a West African tour and it is due to head next to Angola.

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