Monday, July 22, 2024

ECONOMY | 11-01-2024 16:12

Argentina’s US$16.1-billion YPF judgement is now open to collection

US judge rules against Argentina's bid to push back collection efforts for US$16.1-billion court judgement related to its 2012 takeover of oil company YPF SA.

Investors seeking to collect a US$16.1-billion court judgement from Argentina over its 2012 takeover of oil company YPF SA can start going after its assets, after a US judge ruled against the nation’s bid to push back those collection efforts.

The ruling is a blow to President Javier Milei’s government as it appeals US District Judge Loretta Preska’s September judgement — the biggest ever ordered by the federal court in Manhattan. Argentina, beset by economic distress including surging inflation, says the ruling equals almost one-fifth of its 2023 budget and that paying it would cause severe hardship.

The ruling came after Argentina missed a January 10 deadline to pledge assets, a condition that would have allowed it to appeal the judgement without having to post a bond securing the full amount.

Preska ruled in November that Buenos Aires could delay payment, pending its appeal, without the bond. But the judge put a condition on that delay: by January 10 the country had to pledge an equity interest in YPF, and proceeds from a hydroelectric dam project, as security for the investors, including former shareholders of YPF led by the litigation funder Burford Capital. 

Burford stands to reap US$6.2 billion of the judgement. It didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment on the ruling

. A spokeswoman for Argentina’s Economy Ministry didn’t return a phone message.

In her ruling on Thursday, Preska agreed with Burford’s position that a reasonable amount of time has passed since the judgement, rejecting Argentina’s argument that the investors shouldn’t be allowed to start going after the assets yet. 

The case is Petersen Energía Inversora SAU v. Argentine Republic, 15-cv-02739, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

by Bob Van Voris & Jonathan Gilbert, Bloomberg


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