Pro-government demonstrators beat drums in front of an image of late President Nestor Kirchner placed over the Economy Ministry in Buenos Aires' financial district
Pro-government demonstrators beat drums in front of an image of late President Nestor Kirchner placed over the Economy Ministry in Buenos Aires financial district. Reuters

Argentina fell into its second default in 13 years after its attempt to make a settlement with holdout funds failed.

Argentina has been engaged in a long legal battle with hedge funds led by Elliott Management and Aurelius, which refused to take part in the country's debt restructuring.

When Argentina defaulted on roughly $81bn (£47.9bn, €60.5bn) of debt in 2001, NML Capital, a hedge fund that is a subsidiary of Paul Singer's Elliott Capital Management, purchased some of Argentina's debt on a secondary market at a deep discount.

Following the default, 92% of its creditors restructured their debts for about $0.30 per on the dollar in 2005 and 2010. However, a number of creditors led by NML Capital rejected any restructuring and sued Argentina for the full amount in New York.

The timeline of the case is given below (Courtesy: Jubilee USA Network).


June - Elliott Management supports legislation in the New York State Senate and Assembly that would allow the fund to pursue post-court judgment.

October - In an effort to collect on the debt it claims it is owed by Argentina, NML Capital asks a Ghanaian court to seize one of Argentina's ships, the ADA Libertad, that was parked off the coast of Ghana. NML Capital wins the case and Ghana seizes the ship. Later, the ruling is overturned by the UN Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea and the ship is returned to Argentina.

November - The US 2nd Circuit Court orders Argentina to pay holdout creditors $1.3bn on 15 December 2012, the same date Argentina is set to pay creditors that restructured. Since Argentina has already begun to repay the 92% of creditors that restructured, NML Capital is arguing that it should be paid back as well, and in full.

In the wake of this ruling, the appeals court freezes the payout to hear new arguments on the case in the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on 27 February 2013. The US Government files a friend-of-the-court brief, noting a ruling against Argentina could make it much harder for countries in financial recovery or countries facing economic stress to access credit and debt swaps.


February - US Second Circuit Court of Appeals judges hear Argentina's appeal of the 2nd District ruling. The court proceeds to ask Argentina to propose an alternative payment plan. Argentina's plan, which was rejected by NML Capital, would essentially give holdout creditors the same deal that 92% of creditors took.

19 April - NML Capital rejects Argentina's proposed payment plan, which it had made in response to an order by the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

23 May - The IMF weighs in on the case saying that the result would have major implications for how future sovereign debt is restructured.

24 June - Argentina files an appeal to the US Supreme Court, known as a writ of certiorari, to ask the court to overturn a ruling by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals made in October of 2012.

11 July - German courts side with Argentina and rejects similar hedge fund claims to those made by NML Capital against Argentine assets in Germany.

26 July - France files an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in support of Argentina's request.

23 August - The US Circuit Court upholds a previous ruling ordering Argentina to pay $1.33bn to hold-out hedge funds. The 2nd Circuit Court delays implementation of the ruling until the US Supreme Court decides if they will hear Argentina's appeal of the circuit court ruling.

7 October - The US Supreme Court decides not to take the landmark debt case between Argentina and bondholders led by NML Capital. Argentina proceeds to file a second petition in the coming months that the Supreme Court reviews and eventually rejects.

1 November - A US Appeals Court rejects the vulture funds' request to remove a hold on payments in the landmark debt case.

18 November - The US 2nd Circuit rules in favour of NML Capital, a decision Argentina would proceed to appeal to the US Supreme Court.

6 December - The US government files a brief in support of Argentina's appeal in the related assets case.


10 January - The US Supreme Court agrees to hear Argentina's appeal in a related case involving foreign assets. This case would decide whether or not creditors have the right to receive information related to a country's foreign assets from financial institutions.

18 February - Argentina officially files its appeal to the US Supreme Court, which will then decide whether or not to hear the case.

24 March - Jubilee USA and nearly 80 faith and development partners file an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court in the Argentina/NML capital case. The brief argues that a court ruling in favour of the hedge funds would harm US bipartisan debt policy, global financial stability, and the world's poorest people.

27 May - Argentina files its final arguments to the Supreme Court in the case, which now rests in the hands of the nine justices.

12 June - The Supreme Court meets to decide whether or not it will hear the case. The IMF expresses "deep concern" for the impact of the case on the debt relief process.

16 June - The Supreme Court rejects Argentina's appeal for a hearing in the case. The Court also rules against Argentina in a related case involving the ability of hold-out creditors to locate the foreign assets of the sovereign nations they are suing.

17 June - Argentina announces a plan to continue paying creditors that accepted a restructuring deal after Argentina's default without paying hold-out creditors.

18 June - Argentina's lawyers tell a US District Judge that the country will negotiate with the hold-out creditors to try to reach an agreement. Argentina has until July 30 to settle the dispute. If it chose not to pay the hold-outs, it would be in technical default.

23 June - US District Judge Thomas Griesa appoints Daniel Pollack to moderate negotiations between Argentina and holdout funds.

27 June - Argentina attempts to pay its restructured bond holders but a US judge blocks the payment. Argentina had deposited more than $500m in the Bank of New York Mellon, but Judge Thomas Griesa ordered the payment blocked unless Argentina also pays the hold-out creditors. Agentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof blames the court's ruling as "absurd"

7 July - Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof meets with court appointed mediator Daniel Pollack and asks the court to stay its ruling. Kicillof says Argentina needs more time to negotiate. View IB Times UK feature.

11 July - Argentina resumes negotiations with the court appointed mediator in New York. Argentina's cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich says Argentina will devise a solution to the situation and will not default.

14 July - Holdout creditor Aurelius Capital Management asks Argentine government to engage in serious negotiations to avoid a fresh debt default.

22 July - US District Judge Thomas Griesa orders Argentina and hold-out creditors to meet with a court-appointed mediator and negotiate "continuously." Argentina is facing a July 30 deadline to reach agreement or default for the second time in 13 years. Griesa rejected Argentina's request for a stay in the case.

24 July – Issue remains unsolved and Argentina continues to refuse to meet face-to-face with vulture funds.

29 July - Argentina is hours from default as last-minute negotiations continue in New York. Meanwhile, Grenada and the Democratic Republic of the Congo face related litigation in US courts in cases that could be impacted by the Supreme Court's decision. View IB Times UK coverage.

30 July - Negotiations with hold-out creditors fail and Argentina defaults on its debt for the second time in 13 years.