Argentina loses $1.3bn debt court appeal

ARA Libertad in port of Tema, Ghana. 9 Oct 2012
Image caption An Argentine ship was seized in Ghana last year as investors take their fight across the world

Argentina has been told again it must pay back more than $1.3bn (£830m) to a group of investors - 11 years after its record debt default.

A New York appeals court unanimously rejected every Argentine argument against the payout.

The decision is the latest twist in the long-running legal saga.

Argentina refuses to pay anything to investors who declined to participate in a previous debt reduction deal involving most of the nation's lenders.

"What the consequences predicted by Argentina have in common is that they are speculative, hyperbolic and almost entirely of the Republic's own making," the judges said in their decision.

But the appeals court held off forcing Argentina to pay pending an appeal to the Supreme Court - which is considered unlikely to hear the case, but puts off any decision to 2014, well after Argentina's congressional elections in October.

The appeal came after a Manhattan court ruled last February that Argentina had violated its contractual obligation to treat all creditors equally. That meant the country would have to pay the bondholders, led by NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management.

Argentina defaulted on some $100bn of debts in 2002, and has since restructured its debt twice, cancelling around 75% of the nominal value of the bonds.

Almost 92% of the country's bondholders agreed to write off most of the amount owed to them.

NML Capital and Aurelius are demanding 100% repayment of the $1.3bn, plus interest.

The investors were so determined to get their money that they went to court to have an Argentinean ship, the Libertad, impounded in Ghana last year. After several weeks, the ship returned home.

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