Argentina on Monday called on Washington to intervene in a court case over the country's defaulted debt after a U.S. district judge threatened the South American country with contempt for making what he called false statements.
U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa, overseeing Argentina's long-running battle with hedge funds over defaulted debt, said on Friday he would issue a contempt of court order unless the government stopped publicly claiming it had met its obligations and was not in default.
Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich countered on Monday that a contempt order would violate Argentina's sovereign immunity and he called on the Obama administration to rein in Griesa.
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"When it comes to a bilateral relationship with a sovereign country and the violation of its immunities, it is necessary for the executive branch to intervene,'' Capitanich said. "The executive has a monopoly on relations with other countries.''
"The United States is responsible for the actions of its branches of power, in this case the judicial branch, regardless of the independence of the functioning of those branches,'' he said.
In 2002 Argentina defaulted on about $100 billion in sovereign bonds. It restructured most of that debt in a deal that gave holders less than 30 cents on the dollar while a group of hedge funds went to court for full repayment.
In 2012 Griesa ruled that Argentina could not repay holders of restructured debt without also paying hedge funds their court-award of $1.33 billion plus interest at the same time.