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Argentina Asks Supreme Court to Protect It From 'Vulture' Hedge Fund

Paul Singer in 2012
Paul Singer in 2012Photograph by Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

It’s hard to decide which is the less sympathetic party appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court today. Is it Argentina, which has repeatedly defaulted on foreign debt? Or is it a hedge fund controlled by billionaire Paul Singer, which sometimes buys up distressed debt on the cheap and then sues for full repayment? Argentina calls Singer’s fund a “vulture,” while Singer’s fund says “it’s time for Argentina to stop trying to evade its obligations and to follow the law.”

The case the high court is hearing today is narrow: Argentina contends that two of its banks can’t be required to disclose information about assets located outside the U.S. But the ultimate issue is much broader, involving big questions about national sovereignty. And it’s creating unusual alliances. The U.S. government has come in on the side of Argentina, while victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are siding with the hedge fund.