BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – A U.S. federal judge in New York sanctioned Argentina on Wednesday, ruling that he will consider Argentine government assets in the U.S. as commercial property in a long-running dispute over the South American nation's debt.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa said the only exceptions would be military and diplomatic assets. The decision will make it easier for hedge fund NML Capital and other creditors to try to seize Argentine assets if they decide to go after them.
The judge also gave Argentina 10 days to produce a log of any documents it deemed protected by attorney-client privilege, or else he would waive the privilege with the firm representing the country. The holdout creditors have long been trying to get lawyers representing Argentina to turn over details of Argentine assets.
The dispute goes back to Argentina's $100 billion default in 2001. Most creditors accepted lower-valued bond swaps in 2005 and 2010. But the hedge funds refused and took Argentina to court in New York and won.
Griesa has repeatedly ruled that Argentina can't pay its other creditors until it pays the holdouts. Argentina has not complied with Griesa's orders, and the funds have tried to seize Argentine assets around the world.