Now that the UN Tribunal of the Law of the Seas has ruled that Argentina will get their naval vessel out of Ghanaian port, hedge fund manager Paul Singer has no assets to hold over the country’s head for collateral.Not to say that he isn’t trying to get some. A Belgian Court just ruled that the billionaire cannot seize Argentina’s diplomatic accounts in the country, MercoPress reports.
Singer has been battling Argentina for years. The country owes him $1.3 billion in 2001 sovereign debt that it has the money to pay, but refuses. Argentina believes that, because a subsidiary of Singer’s Elliott Management and other hedge funds did not restructure their debt and take haircuts on the bonds in 2005 and 2010, they are “vulture” funds.
And Argentina does not pay vulture funds.
That is why Singer is trying to get his hands on something, anything that will put pressure on Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The ARA Libertad, Argentina’s naval vessel, was a great option until (first) it became a rallying cry in Argentina and (second) a UN Tribunal ordered that it be sent back to the country saying (via Credit Slips) that because the ARA is a warship, it is entitled to immunity under international law.
So Singer went for Argentina’s diplomatic bank accounts in Belgium, but Belgium wasn’t having it at all. The Court cited the 1961 Vienna Convention, which states “the premises of the (diplomatic) mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution”.
This ruling came down from Belgium’s highest Court, and also included a measure that would stop Singer from trying any other kind of action to take assets belonging to Argentina’s diplomatic mission.
Plus, Singer has to pay everyone’s legal fees.