NML May Demand Information From Argentina’s National Bank

A hedge fund that holds defaulted Argentine bonds won approval from a federal judge in New York to demand information about the nation’s assets worldwide from Banco de la Nacion Argentina, to help it understand Argentina’s “financial circulatory system.”

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa said Elliott Management Corp.’s NML Capital may go forward with a subpoena requiring BNA to produce documents “relating to any assets or accounts maintained at BNA by Argentina or for Argentina’s benefit, any debts owed by BNA to Argentina and transfers into or out of Argentina’s accounts” as part of NML’s attempts to seize assets to pay what it’s owed on the bonds.

Griesa overruled BNA’s objection that complying with the subpoena would violate Argentine law and the laws of Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Panama, Paraguay, the Cayman Islands and Uruguay. Griesa said he will schedule a hearing to determine what additional steps need to be taken.

“The court finds that with the exception of Uruguay, complying with this court’s orders would not violate the various countries’ laws,” Griesa said in a Feb. 8 opinion. “However, even if disclosure violated the foreign countries’ laws, as in the case of Uruguay, this court still orders disclosure.”

Argentina defaulted on a record $95 billion in sovereign debt in 2001. Griesa is overseeing lawsuits filed by investors in the U.S. seeking to collect on the defaulted bonds.

The case is NML Capital 03-cv-8845, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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