(Adds holdout creditor preparing subpoena against banks, latest
By Jorge A. Otaola and Richard Lough
BUENOS AIRES Aug 22 Argentina on Friday accused
the U.S. judge who called the country's new debt restructuring
plan illegal of making "imperialist" comments against the South
Latin America's No. 3 economy tipped into its second default
in 12 years in July after U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa
blocked payments to holders of issued under U.S. law that was
restructured following its record $100 billion default in 2002.
Griesa ruled that measures proposed by Argentina's president
late on Tuesday to make debt payments locally and push
bondholders to bring their debt under Argentine law violated
past court rulings. But he stopped short of holding the country
President Cristina Fernandez's measures, if enacted and
executed, would potentially allow Argentina to skirt Griesa's
court orders and thus resume interest payments on an estimated
$29 billion in restructured bonds.
Argentine Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said Griesa's
choice of words was "unfortunate, incorrect and even, I would
say, imperialist expressions".
Argentina defaulted after Griesa froze a $539 million
interest payment, saying restructured bonds cannot be paid
unless U.S. investment funds demanding 100 cents on the dollar,
plus interest, are simultaneously paid.
Elliott Management Corp, a lead holdout investor suing
Argentina via its NML Capital affiliate, is preparing to
subpoena a number of international banks in its efforts to seize
what it suspects are embezzled Argentine funds, a source at the
hedge fund told Thomson Reuters IFR.
Argentine bonds extended losses but the peso halted a
two-day rout, firming 0.2 percent on the black market to
13.880 per dollar. It struck a record low of 14.000 on Thursday.
Griesa's move not to level contempt charges against
Argentina was aiding the peso erase some of its cumulative 5.2
percent loss on Wednesday and Thursday, market analysts said.
The government has pulled no punches in its stinging
criticism of Griesa, accusing the judge of abusing Argentina's
It said Griesa's remarks showed a "complete ignorance of the
functioning of democratic institutions".
On Friday, Argentine dollar-denominated Discount bonds due
in 2033 traded 2.8 percent lower to bid 78.925
cents on the dollar.
Fernandez's stance makes a resolution to the debt saga
increasingly unlikely before the October 2015 presidential
election, in which she is constitutionally barred from running.
"What may change that dynamic is a significant deterioration
in the macro environment coupled with a meaningful further
devaluation of the peso," said Nasser Ahmad, chief investment
officer of New York-based hedge fund DA Capital.
"That may force the current government back to the
negotiating table," he added.
The peso's mid-week slump reinforced expectations that a
drawn-out crisis will fuel one of the world's highest inflation
rates, sap shrinking foreign reserves and deepen the country's
"If capital continues to pour out of the economy, the
authorities will probably have to devalue," wrote David Rees,
emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.
(Additional reporting by Nishant Kumar in London and Davide
Scigliuzzo of IFR in New York, Editing by W Simon)