The hedge fund firm of billionaire Paul E. Singer has about 300 employees, yet it has managed to force Argentina, a nation of 41 million people, into a position where it now has to contemplate a humbling surrender....
“We’ve had a lot of bombs being thrown around the world, and this is America throwing a bomb into the global economic system,” said Joseph E. Stiglitz, the economist and professor at Columbia University. “We don’t know how big the explosion will be — and it’s not just about Argentina.”
As a hedge fund, Elliott’s pursuit of Argentina is motivated by a desire to make money. Having bought its Argentine bonds for well below their original value, the firm stands to make a killing if Argentina pays the bonds in full. Legal filings indicate that the face value of its Argentine government bonds was around $170 million, but the firm most likely acquired many of them for much less than that. Elliott and other investors are now seeking more than $1.5 billion, which includes years of unpaid interest.
Singer whines, Why is everyone so obsessed with a little old country like Argentina?
It's just a little money.Add a little judicial hocuspocus:
In his Q2 2014 investor letter, Elliott Management founder Paul Singer expressed his annoyance at the media's obsession with his decade-long public slug fest with Argentina over $1.3 billion of sovereign debt.
"Elliott does not seek such publicity," Singer wrote. "Obviously, our lives would be easier if the press cared less about this particular position and/or similar positions that attract attention. The Economist ran a piece rebutting the silly and hyperbolic claim that our case will encourage lots of other investors to follow our lead, dryly noting that “There are easier ways to make money.” We think most other investors would certainly agree. As we have noted, one of the reasons that we continue to see attractive opportunities, even in the current yield-hungry environment, is that complex, labor- intensive situations are not everyone’s cup of tea."
... in 2012, a federal judge, Thomas Griesa of the Southern District of New York, got the gospel of Paul Singer. He decreed that Argentina could not keep paying its Moe-coiffed bondholders if it wasn't paying Singer and the other holdouts. Not only that, but he also declared that any banks playing middle-man between Argentina and aforementioned Moe-coiffed bondholders would be in trouble with the law.It figures! Griesa is an old poop put into the judiciary by Richard Nixon -- and Antonin Scalia?
This was a radical decision. Worse, it might have been kind of stupid. Times columnist Floyd Norris pointed out recently that Griesa "had not completely understood the bond transactions that he had been ruling on for years."
But the Second District Court decided that Griesa's ruling was A-OK, leading Felix Salmon to call them "poltroons." Poltroons, I say!
And then finally in June, the U.S. Supreme Court, led by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, declined to hear Argentina's appeal. Last-ditch negotiations to end the dispute failed Wednesday night, and Argentina did not make a scheduled bond payment -- again, because Griesa had ordered it not to do so. Bada bing, bada boom, Argentina is in default and nobody gets paid.
Note: I did not steal my title from Greg Palast:
The Vulture:And, did you know that Palast:
Chewing Argentina’s Living Corpse
I wish my enemies to take note that my quadruple by-pass heart surgery three weeks ago was quite successful. My doctors say I can suit up for dragon-slaying in about six weeks. Bless you all for your thousands of healing notes and thoughts.
The day before going under the knife, I was reminded that, "You can't take it with you” – because the insurance company will take it first. (Bada-bing!) So, I invited my attorney to the cardiac unit (no kidding) to tweak my last will and testament – insuring that royalties to my books and films will continue to go the Palast Investigative Fund.