Sometimes the litigation over the Republic of Argentina’s obligations to hedge funds that bought up the country’s defaulted bonds reminds us of the America’s Cup tempest we’ve chronicled so faithfully over the last year. For one thing, Barry Ostrager of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is at the center of both cases, representing Aurelius Capital Partners against Argentina and the yacht club of billionaire Swiss sailor Ernesto Bertarelli in the America’s Cup death match with Larry Ellison’s Golden Gate Yacht Club.
And for another, both of these cases have involved more incremental plot twists than an episode of “Guiding Light.” In the latest development in the Argentina litigation, Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Thomas Griesa entered a Nov. 19 preliminary injunction barring Argentina from selling or transferring trust bonds held in a securities account in the U.S. According to Ostrager, there are about $2 billion worth of these complex financial instruments — more than enough to satisfy the hedge funds’ $553 million in judgments against Argentina if Judge Griesa ultimately decides that the hedge funds can execute on the securities.
“This could be a home run,” Ostrager told the Litigation Daily.
He needs one. As we reported last month, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a companion case that the hedge funds could not execute against recently nationalized Argentine pension fund assets held in the U.S. The 2nd Circuit also heard an appeal in the trust bonds case, in which the Republic of Argentina asked the appellate court to vacate Judge Griesa’s temporary restraining order. Instead, on Nov. 5, the 2nd Circuit remanded the case to Griesa with the instruction that he either enter a preliminary injunction or vacate the TRO. The Nov. 19 injunction was Griesa’s response to the remand.
Argentina is represented in both the trust bonds and pension fund cases by former Litigator of the Week Jonathan Blackman of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. He didn’t return a call for comment.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that a global resolution may be coming to the Argentine default mess. Bloomberg reported Thursday that the Republic’s senate has approved a bill that permits the government to make a settlement offer to bondholders. Hey, even soap operas end sometimes.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Litigation Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.