By Andrew Longstreth and Daniel Bases
NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Investors suing over
Argentina's 2002 sovereign debt default are seeking to force the
country's law firm to hand over any documents related to its
stated plans not to pay them.
The "holdout" creditors on Thursday filed a motion in U.S.
District Court in New York to compel Cleary Gottlieb Steen &
Hamilton to produce documents in response to a subpoena sent to
the firm on Nov. 26.
The creditors said they are seeking information about any
plans made by Argentina to avoid court orders requiring it to
pay them when it pays investors who exchanged their bonds in a
debt restructuring process.
The holdouts, including Elliott Management affiliate NML
Capital Ltd and the Aurelius Capital Management funds, are
seeking to be repaid in full on their defaulted Argentine bonds
after spurning the debt exchanges in 2005 and 2010. Argentina
calls the litigating funds "vultures" and has vowed never to pay
The litigation has been dragging on for 10 years. While
Argentina has won most of the legal battles, the holdouts have
scored major court victories in recent months.
Last February, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa
ordered Argentina to pay the holdouts at the same time it paid
investors who exchanged their bonds. That order was mostly
affirmed by a three-judge panel from the 2nd U.S. Court of
Appeals in October. Argentina has since asked the full appeals
court to review that decision.
Following adverse rulings, officials in Argentina, including
fiery, left-leaning President Cristina Fernandez, have vowed
that the government would not pay the holdouts.
The holdouts said in the motion filed on Thursday that its
subpoena to Cleary is seeking information about any plans
Argentina may have made to defy Griesa's orders.
The holdouts argued that there is no basis for Argentina or
Cleary to argue the documents sought are protected by
attorney-client privilege or by deliberative process privilege.
If documents are discovered that show Argentina seeking to
defy Griesa's orders, they would be in "furtherance of a crime
or fraud, and thus would not be entitled to the benefit of a
privilege," the investors said in the motion.
A spokesperson for Cleary did not immediately respond to a
call for comment. A spokesman for Elliott Management declined to
comment when contacted by Reuters.
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