April 7 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital Ltd., seeking to enforce $1.7 billion in judgments over Argentina’s defaulted bonds, is trying to track down allegedly embezzled Argentine funds in Nevada.
NML asked a federal court in Las Vegas to order 123 companies in Nevada that are affiliated with Lazaro Baez, a businessman in Argentina who is accused in that country of embezzling $65 million from government contracts, to turn over information about the location of the assets.
“If Baez is convicted of embezzlement, any funds traceable to the embezzlement scheme would be property of Argentina available to satisfy NML’s judgements against Argentina,” the hedge fund said in its April 1 request.
Argentina in February asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower court rulings that would force it to make payments on billions of dollars of defaulted bonds. Argentina is fighting NML and other creditors that won judgments requiring the country to pay its defaulted debt if it pays its restructured debt.
Carmine Boccuzzi Jr., a lawyer representing Argentina, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on NML’s filing in Las Vegas.
NML is managed by Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., a New York-based hedge fund that manages money for a wide range of institutional investors, including university endowments, foundations and pension funds. NML last month sued billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. along with the South American nation for its rights to at least two satellite launches.
Last year, an Argentine political television program reported on an alleged money laundering ring run by Baez, a friend of the late Argentine President Nestor Kirchner. Former associates of Baez have said that in 2011 they moved about 55 million euros ($71 million) in cash offshore that had been siphoned from state contracts won by Baez’s company.
From 2009 to 2013, Baez’s companies received 70 percent to 75 percent of all public work contracts in Kirchner’s home province, Santa Cruz, according to NML’s filing. An Argentine prosecutor last year found that Baez transfered at least $65 million to a network of shell companies in Nevada, NML said.
The case is NML Capital Ltd. v. Argentina, 14-00492, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).
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