Argentina's holdout bondholders say: Pay us now

Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:05am EST

* Aurelius, NML say no reason to delay payments

* Argentina appeals ruling that it had discriminated

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Holdout creditors that own defaulted Argentine bonds urged a U.S. federal judge to order that the country pay them, just hours after Argentina appealed a court decision that found it had discriminated against those bondholders.

The developments escalate a long-running battle between Argentina and holdout bondholders that refused to join massive debt swaps in 2005 and 2010, an outgrowth of the country's roughly $100 billion default nearly 11 years ago.

In a court filing late Tuesday, Elliott Management Corp's NML Capital Ltd and two Aurelius Capital Management funds, which together own $1.4 billion of defaulted debt, urged U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan to lift his Feb. 23 stay on payments pending appeal.

They said Argentine officials including President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner have vowed not to pay holdout bondholders, even as they prepare to make $3.3 billion of payments next month to bondholders that participated in the swaps.

"Argentina has no legitimate excuse for any further delay," lawyers for Aurelius and NML said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Argentina asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to revisit its Oct. 26 decision in favor of Aurelius, NML and some other creditors.

That decision by a three-judge panel said the country was contractually required to pay holdouts on the same terms as bondholders that participated in the swaps.

Judge Barrington Parker said Argentina had not shown that a loss would cause financial chaos, or that "to avoid defaulting on its other debt, it cannot afford to service the defaulted debt."

In its latest appeal, Argentina said that Oct. 26 decision would "exacerbate future sovereign debt crises by making voluntary debt restructuring essentially impossible."

On Nov. 9, Griesa said he will resolve questions regarding how payments are to be made by Dec. 2, when the December payments are set to begin.

The lower court case is NML Capital Ltd v. Argentina, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-06978. The appeals court case is NML Capital Ltd et al v. Argentina, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-105.

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