Argentina prevails vs hedge fund in GDP-linked securities lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. district judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by New York-based hedge fund Aurelius Capital against Argentina, related to an alleged payment shortfall under securities offerings linked to the South American country’s gross domestic product.

As part of the negotiation of a previous default, Argentina issued securities that would trigger a higher payment if GDP, or GDP growth, exceeded a certain amount.

Aurelius claims that Argentina’s growth exceeded this trigger in 2013, although the country claimed it did not.

In a document filed on Tuesday, senior U.S. District judge Loretta Preska said Aurelius used data not contemplated in the contract to base its claim of higher GDP growth.

“The relevant contractual terms clearly and plainly indicate that the calculations material to Aurelius’s breach of contract claim must rely on enumerated economic metrics produced by the Argentinian government,” Preska wrote.

“Aurelius is stuck with the enumerated metrics and, accordingly, the Republic of Argentina’s motion to dismiss is GRANTED.”

The lawsuit for more than $80 million was filed almost a year ago in Manhattan.

The judge’s decision to dismiss was without prejudice, meaning Aurelius could file an amended complaint. Lawyers for Aurelius were not immediately available to comment.

Lawyers for Argentina did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Argentina’s new government, in power for less than a month, is preparing to restructure its debt, the bulk of which is owed to the International Monetary Fund.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Megan Davies and Chizu Nomiyama