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TheStreet Open House

Argentina May Defy New York Courts

"The court was looking for something simple, like: We're not going to pay them in a lump sum, but we're going to make a quarterly payment of the full $1.4 billion over three years. They weren't looking for creative financing where Argentina demands or forces a new bond," Rosner said. "What if somebody took that new bond, and the Argentine government defaulted the next day?"

Analysts voiced similar worries in Argentina, where defying the "vulture funds" is politically very popular, but economically dangerous.

If the government loses, "Argentina will be forced to decide whether to follow the decision or enter into technical default, a situation that would increase the country risk and deteriorate even more the price of publicly traded shares, as well as drive the parallel dollar even higher. This is not the most auspicious moment to run these risks," economist Ramiro Castineira concluded after analyzing how the government might follow through on its position.

The appellate court already ruled in October in favor of NML Capital Ltd., a hedge fund run by billionaire Paul Singer, basing its decision on the "pari passu" clause in the defaulted bond contracts, Latin for treating all bondholders equally.

Fine, Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino has said repeatedly during this appeal: Equal means Argentina will pay the plaintiffs no better than what the exchange bondholders got in 2005 or 2010.

Those bondholders have been steadily repaid, recovering much of their original investments over the years. But Argentina is apparently going to insist that the plaintiffs start with no more than what the other bondholders started with years ago, not what they've been paid to date, Castineira said.

"It brings us back to where Monday morning we're in a crisis because the Argentine government fails to meet its obligations and we're back to square one. Unless they sit down and make bilateral negotiations, they're probably headed to default," Rosner said.

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