Mediator: More progress in talks to resolve Argentina’s debt

NEW YORK, N.Y. – A court-appointed mediator reported more progress Friday in efforts by Argentina to resolve a dispute with bondholders who claim they are owed about $10 billion by the financially strapped South American nation.

A week after two of six leading bondholders settled their claims for well over $1 billion, the rest of them were completing a week of “intensive discussions” with high-ranking Argentine government officials, mediator Daniel Pollack said in a statement.

“These discussions have gone late into the night and will continue. I do not know whether agreements in principle will be reached with these four bondholders, but I will continue to do everything in my power to see that it happens,” Pollack said.

He called it an “eventful week in the negotiations.”

Last week, Argentina offered bondholders a $6.5 billion deal to settle cases stemming from its 2001 default. Holdout bondholders were seeking about $10 billion.

U.S. hedge funds are among bondholders that refused to trade bonds at discounted prices after Argentina defaulted on $100 billion in debt in 2001.

Among others, billionaire hedge fund investor Paul Singer’s NML Capital Ltd. took Argentina to court and won judgments against it.

Besides the big remaining four bondholders, Pollack said other parties with substantial bond holdings have expressed interest in settling and were trying to reach agreements with Argentina.

Lawyers for bondholders and Argentina have met several times since last month as Argentina seeks to end a long-running legal dispute that impedes its ability to help its struggling economy in global credit markets.

Pollack said any agreements reached cannot be consummated until Argentina’s Congress lifts laws blocking potential deals and until U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan lifts a court order that would stand in the way.

Lawyers for bondholders and Argentina did not immediately return messages seeking comment Friday.