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ECONOMY | 27-01-2020 12:14

Ex-Elliott lawyer builds creditor group for Argentine rematch

Dennis Hranitzky, an attorney who helped hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer win a 15-year bond battle against Argentina, is gearing up for a potential rematch.

Dennis Hranitzky, an attorney who helped hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer win a 15-year bond battle against Argentina, is gearing up for a potential rematch against the South American nation.

The veteran restructuring lawyer, who joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan this week, affirmed he is building up an Argentina bondholder group that now totals about 20 funds. 

The creditors are focused on notes that were part of the nation’s 2005 and 2010 debt exchanges. 

Those securities have collective action clauses stating that holders of just a third of the principal amount of a single bond could veto any restructuring deal they don’t support.

In a phone interview, Hranitzky confirmed the existence of the group, which began taking shape several months ago. 

He said the bondholders intend to be “entirely constructive” in the restructuring process.

“It would be a mistake to read too much into the fact that the group has retained me, given my history litigating on behalf of Elliott,” Hranitzky declared.

Even the whiff of an aggressive creditor group could complicate Argentina’s efforts to solve its debt crisis in a timely manner. 

Economy Minister Martin Guzmán has said the nation can’t pay its bonds under current conditions. President Alberto Fernández has said he hopes to finish the renegotiation by March 31.

Argentina’s gross debt load stands at US$332 billion, including loans from the International Monetary Fund, government data from the third quarter shows, according to Bloomberg.

This is familiar territory for Hranitzky, a Harvard Law School graduate who helped hedge fund heavyweights like Singer’s Elliott Management and Kenneth Dart’s EM Ltd secure billions of dollars in payments from Argentina in 2016 after a long legal fight. 

Hranitzky, who was working for Dechert LLP at the time, crossed swords with the nation’s then-leader Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in that court battle. She is now vice-president.

Hranitzky was among a group of attorneys that pursued creative tactics to help Elliott make its money. 

Elliott sued the law firm Mossack Fonseca, made famous in the Panama Papers, alleging it helped move stolen money from Buenos Aires. 

The money manager also seized a naval vessel docked in Ghana as well as Argentina’s rights to launch satellites from an Elon Musk rocket ship.

by Ben Bartenstein, Carolina Millan & Katia Porzecanski, Bloomberg

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