Bloomberg reports that billionaire Paul Singer, the hedge fund founder seeking to collect on more than $1.5 billion in judgments over Argentina’s defaulted bonds, has been granted permission by a Las Vegas judge to receive access to information about Nevada-based assets of Argentine businessman Lazaro Baez. Baez is accused of embezzling at least $65 million from a series of government contracts and stashing the money abroad.
Paul Singer has been leading a decade-long legal quest by a number of hedge funds in an attempt to recoup investments in Argentina’s debt. matters came to a head last month when Argentina entered default for the second time in 13 years after talks with some creditors failed. Singer is the front man for several hedge funds owed more than $1.5 billion from the nation’s initial 2001 default. A federal judge recently barred Argentina from paying on its restructured debt until it pays off Singer’s group.
Paul Singer’s request: Details on court ruling
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach in Reno granted Paul Singer’s request for access to documents on August 11th, ruling that the request was an attempt to execute a valid judgment against Argentina.
“There is no doubt that the 123 companies are shell corporations,” Ferenbach wrote in his order. “Similarly, there is no doubt that shell corporations are routinely formed to commit fraud.”
Ferenbach ruling was very friendly to Paul Singer’s group; he even noted that Argentina’s failure to pay judgments won by NML Capital has caused the firm to “travel the globe in search of property owned by Argentina.”
More on Baez fraud allegations
In earlier court rulings, Singer claimed Baez’s ties to Argentina and current president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner are “infamous”, and that he has illegally accumulated a personal fortune with the help of Fernandez and former president Nestor Kirchner.
Back in April 2013, Argentinian authorities undertook an investigation into Fernandez, Kirchner and Baez over allegations they embezzled millions from public projects and laundered the embezzled funds in Panama and shell corporations in other countries. In the report released late last year, the investigation determined that Baez transferred at least $65 million to several shell companies in Nevada.
NML is seeking documents concerning any transfer of property or funds to or from any of the suspected Baez entities beginning as of January 2010, as well as documents in connection to any investigation of the businessman, based on court filings.