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Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-Stakes Chess Match for Argentina

Debt campaigners hold a protest against vulture fund attacks on Argentina outside the office of Elliott Advisors, the owners of the vulture fund NML Capital, on the eve of the Argentinian government appeal hearing in New York, February 26, 2013. (Photo: Jubilee Debt Campaign / Flickr)

If Argentina were in a high-stakes chess match, the country's actions this week would be the equivalent of flipping over all the pieces on the board.

– David Dayen, Fiscal Times, August 22, 2014

Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank

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