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ARGENTINA | 15-09-2023 19:06

US congressional complaint revives criticism of Argentina default litigation

US congresswoman alleged corruption in historic Argentina 'vulture funds' ruling; Ocasio-Cortez spoke at a hearing on third-party litigation and alleged that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is friends with Paul Singer, who led the 2001 debt litigation against nation.

A fiery bout of criticism from US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aimed at a US Supreme Court justice re-awakened old grudges in Argentina on Friday.

In questioning the previous behaviour of top justice Samuel Alito, Ocasio-Cortez – one of the most high-profile leftist members of the ruling Democratic Party – re-opened wounds from an unfavourable ruling in litigation over default securities and the famous holdouts battle with the so-called 'vulture funds' of the last 20 years. 

Ocasio-Cortez cited reports that broke this week about an alleged luxury trip by conservative US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, allegedly paid by financier Paul Singer, a figure of hate in Argentina due to his fund's prolonged legal battle with Argentina.

During a congressional hearing, the US Democrat detailed how Alito had attended a trip paid for by Singer, who later won a key case against Argentina in the highest court of the land.

Alito “used his seat on the Supreme Court after all of this to rule in Singer’s favour”, pointed out Ocasio-Cortez in reference to the judgment nine years ago against Argentina, reaffirming the payment order to the so-called “vulture funds” (holdouts), which bought the debt.

Argentina's troubled financial situation is at the core of the presidential election campaign. Voters go to the polls on October 22.

Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, head of state when the ruling was delivered in 2014, reposted a video of the left-wing US Congresswoman’s intervention on X on Friday.

“There are three things that cannot be concealed for very long: the sun, the moon and truth,” she wrote. “Do not let them lie to you anymore. That is how they get judgments in favour of Vulture Funds and against Argentina, your country, in the US Judiciary."

Minutes later, from Cuba, where he is attending the G7 + China Summit, President Alberto Fernández shared the post too and called the revelation “extremely serious and scandalous."

Singer, head of speculative fund NML Capital, was the creditor who cashed in the most from that negotiation to the tune of US$2.426 billion.

All US$10.5-billion payments were made in 2016, during former president Mauricio Macri’s administration, when Argentina emerged from default.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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