Argentina Hasn’t Defaulted, Singer Holding Country Hostage, Says Kyle Bass

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In an interview with the Buenos Aires Herald, Hayman Capital Management LP founder Kyle Bass said that he thinks Argentina is in a unique situation that shouldn’t be viewed as default since the payment was made if not received, and that there is still room for compromise between Argentina and the holdouts if they can get the rights upon future offers (RUFO) clause out of the way.

“I don’t believe that Argentina has defaulted since it has already paid,” said Bass. “This is an unprecedented and once in a lifetime case in which a country made its payment but the funds weren’t transferred to the bondholders. Argentina has shown its willingness to pay because it has sent the money.”

Argentina: Bondholders could waive RUFO clause

While Bass said that he is confident Judge Thomas Griesa is doing his best to be impartial, and he thinks both the holdouts and Argentina could have been more diplomatic during court proceedings, he takes issue with Griesa’s interpretation of the pari passu clause in the bonds and the judge’s insistence that holdouts get paid along with the other bondholders.

While Bass says that the Argentine government doesn’t have the right to seek a waiver for the RUFO clause on its own, other bondholders could and it’s possible that some third party could convince them to waive their rights now instead of just waiting for them to expire. Bass had no comment on Argentina’s recently announced debt swap that would restructure the country’s debt under Argentine jurisdiction, which Griesa quickly ruled was illegal.

Singer is holding poor countries hostage: Bass

But Bass did have a few choice words for his fellow hedge fund manager Paul Singer of Elliott Management, the firm that has been at the lead of the holdouts’ fight with Argentina.

“If you are an investor, ‘vulture funds’ such as Elliott will be a prudent fiduciary with your money. They do a good job on that,” said Bass. “But there’s a difference between being a good fiduciary and a good global citizen. Singer is holding poor countries as hostages and I would never engage in that. But there are firms out there that don’t have my same morals.”

Not that Bass is disinterested. He recently joined George Soros in suing The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) in London for its failure to distribute payments on euro-denominated bonds, arguing that they don’t fall under US jurisdiction.

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