BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's government on Tuesday questioned a U.S. judge's impartiality in a long legal battle with creditors over bonds left over from the country's default in 2001.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa ruled Monday that Citigroup Inc. could process an $85 million interest payment due Dec. 31 by the South American country on bonds issued under its local laws.
But Argentine Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said in a news conference that the decision by the judge in New York is additional proof he sides with "vulture funds." Capitanich also regretted Griesa's decision to postpone a hearing set for Dec. 9 to determine whether the bank can regularly process payments Argentina makes on the bonds.
"Judge Griesa's contradictions only add more confusion and uncertainty," he said.
Argentina defaulted in July after Griesa ruled in favor of holdout creditors who President Cristina Fernandez's government derides as "vultures" for rejecting Argentina's restructuring offers on its record $100 billion default in 2001.
The holdouts are demanding about $1.5 billion in unpaid debts, and have spent more than a decade litigating for payment in full rather than agreeing to provide Argentina with debt relief.