August 7, 2014 / 6:10 PM / in 5 years

Argentina seeks legal case against U.S. in The Hague

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Argentina asked the world court in The Hague on Thursday to take action against the United States over Argentine sovereign debt, the latest move in the South American country’s long-running dispute with holdout creditors.Argentina defaulted last week after losing a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected the terms of debt restructurings in 2005 and 2010.

A statement issued by the International Court of Justice, the U.N.’s highest court for disputes between nations, said Argentina’s request had been “transmitted to the U.S. Government. However, no action will be taken in the proceedings unless and until” Washington accepts the court’s jurisdiction.

The United States has recognised the court’s jurisdiction in the past, but it was not immediately clear if it would do so in Argentina’s case.

The default came after Argentina failed last week to strike a deal with the main holdouts among investors, NML Capital Ltd, an affiliate of Elliott Management Corp and Aurelius Capital Management.

Buenos Aires maintains it has not defaulted because it made a required interest payment on one of its bonds due 2033, but a judge in the U.S. district court in Manhattan blocked that deposit in June, saying it violated an earlier ruling.

Argentina said in its application to the court that the United States had “committed violations of Argentine sovereignty and immunities and other related violations as a result of judicial decisions adopted by U.S. tribunals.”

Latin America’s third-largest economy defaulted on about $100 billion (£59.26 billion) on sovereign bonds in 2002. Most holders of those bonds accepted less than 30 cents on the dollar in the 2005 and 2010 restructurings. But a minority of holders opted to sue in the U.S. courts for full repayment.

Washington lost a suit filed by Mexico at the international court, which ruled in 2004 that the United States had violated the rights of death row inmates by denying them the right to consular legal representation.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Larry King

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