US defends official with Argentine hedge-fund ties

GMT 22:54 2014 Tuesday ,04 November

Arab Today, arab today US defends official with Argentine hedge-fund ties

Buenos Aires
Washington - AFP

The United States on Tuesday dismissed an attack by Argentina, which last week warned of worsening bi-lateral relations over ties between a US official and a group representing so-called "vulture funds."
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner on October 30 wrote to President Barack Obama, warning of "grave implications" if Nancy Soderberg, who sits on a US advisory committee, also is the co-chair of the American Task Force Argentina.
Kirchner claimed the task force's mission is to "attack and slander" Argentina, and said its members include a group that manages NML Capital, one of the hedge funds that stands to make huge profits from Argentina's financial woes and which Kirchner has branded a "vulture fund."
Such ties, Kirchner argued, pose a conflict for Soderberg, who was in 2012 appointed by Obama to head the Public Interest Declassification Board advisory committee.
The State Department said such board positions are part-time, and it is typical for government advisory board members to have outside employment.
"Soderberg is a private citizen who serves on a government advisory board. Her responsibilities in her official capacity as PIDB chairperson are unrelated to any involvement she might have in Argentina's bondholder litigation as a private citizen," a State Department spokeswoman told AFP.
The PIDB is an advisory committee established by Congress in 2000 to promote public access to government records related to US national security activities, the State Department said.
Kirchner's letter comes as Argentina, Latin America's third-largest economy, struggles to get back on track with deals to restructure the debt it defaulted on during its 2001 crisis.
A US court has ordered Buenos Aires to halt interest payments to creditors who agreed to take steep losses until it settles a $1.3 billion dispute with the "holdout" hedge funds refusing to accept a write-down.
Two of those groups -- NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management -- stand to make enormous profits.


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