A US judge agreed to temporarily delay enforcement of a US$16.1 billion court judgment against Argentina over its 2012 expropriation of oil company YPF SA while the South American nation pursues a court appeal.
Argentina is seeking review of the September 15 award and asked to avoid paying while the appeal is being considered. The judgment is owed to former YPF shareholders led by the litigation funder Burford Capital, which stands to take about US$6.2 billion.
US District Judge Loretta Preska on Tuesday allowed Argentina to delay payment without an appeal bond securing the full amount if it pledges the nation’s 51 percent equity interest in YPF and its receivables tied to a dam and hydroelectric power plant built between Argentina and Paraguay.
The investors said Argentina’s YPF stake is worth between US$2.35 billion and $3.05 billion. An additional US$4 billion in payments owed by Paraguay to Argentina over the next 30 years for the Yacyretá Dam, if securitized, would yield an additional US$2 billion in value today, according to the judge.
Preska suspended enforcement of the judgment until Decembver 5 to allow Argentina to arrange for the pledges. She also required the country to seek expedited consideration from the higher court, the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
Argentina had argued that paying the judgment or posting a bond to protect the investors’ claim during the appeal would cause severe hardship to the Argentinian people. The judgment equals almost one-fifth of the nation’s budget, it claimed.
The case is Petersen Energia Inversora SAU. v. Argentine Republic, 15-cv-02739, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
by Bob Van Voris, Bloomberg