August 1, 2014 / 5:00 PM / 3 years ago

Argentina's lawyers criticise mediator, judge says 'cool down'

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Argentina's lead lawyer told the U.S. judge overseeing its debt dispute with creditors on Friday the government has no confidence in the court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack after the failure to settle led to a default on sovereign bonds.

Jonathan Blackman, Argentina's lead lawyer said a statement released by Pollack on Wednesday was "unfortunate" and "The republic of Argentina believes ... it was harmful and prejudiced to the republic and the impact on the market."

On Wednesday Argentina defaulted for a second time in 12 years after the two sides were unable to come to a last minute agreement, thereby leaving in place U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa's order that Argentina could not pay bondholders who participated in prior exchanges unless it also pays holdouts at the same time.

Griesa appointed Pollack, an experienced New York lawyer, as Special Master in the case and knocked back Blackman's assertion, saying there was no reason to bring in anyone else to fill that role. He said everyone should "cool down" about ideas of mistrust, stick to the facts and that and the only sensible way forward was to stay on the path already started.

Pollack's statement following the unsuccessful conclusion to the talks on Wednesday said in part: "This case has been highly publicized and highly politicized for many weeks.  What has been perfectly clear to me all along, however, in my capacity as the neutral Special Master, is that the laws of the United States must be obeyed by all parties."

Reporting by Joseph Ax and Nicholas Brown; Writing by Daniel Bases; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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