Argentina has filed a motion in a US court asking the judge overseeing the case regarding the 2012 nationalisation of oil company YPF to dismiss the petition by claimants to enforce the judgement in 30 days.
Litigators are requesting the government pay the US$16.1 billion awarded to minority shareholders in a major court decision last month.
The prosecution had asked Judge Loretta Preska, from the US District Court for the Southern District in Manhattan, to give Argentina 30 days to begin paying the compensation and interest in the sentence which favoured claimants Grupo Petersen and Eton Park. The two interested parties bought the rights to the divested shares of firms following the nationalisation of the YPF state oil firm, which in 2012 was controlled by Spanish company Repsol.
“It would be an extraordinary violation of international courtesy to allow the enforcement of a US$16.- billion judgement in the case with an artificially limited term” and “it would generate unnecessary and chaotic litigation,” claimed lawyers representing Argentina in a plea addressed to the judge on September 27.
Attorney Robert Giuffra, who signed the petition, reminded the court that Burford Capital, which bought the litigation from one of the plaintiff companies, Grupo Petersen, has sold 38.75 percent of its share in the case to third parties “whose identity has not even been revealed.”
The payment the country needs to make accounts for nearly 20 percent of Argentina’s Budget for 2023, the defence said, assuring that the “payment of such a proportion of a country’s budget would not be possible for any government in the term proposed by the claimants”.
“There is no certainty that the payment of a judgement, once made, may be recovered, an unsustainable outcome given that Argentina’s appeal claims difficult legal matters before the Court of Appeals”, they added.
The case dates back to 2012, when Argentina nationalised YPF, then controlled by Repsol. Two years later, the Spanish company was compensated with US$5 billion to finalise the litigation; this was not the case with other minority shareholders such as Grupo Petersen or Eton Park Capital (25.4% of YPF’s capital), which in 2015 filed a lawsuit alleging that the country had not presented an initial public offering as per company statutes.