Thursday, 4 October 2012

Ghana holds Argentine frigate over debt: Buenos Aires

Argentina on Wednesday alleged that Ghana is violating international law by holding one of its frigates under a court order by creditors suing Buenos Aires over its 2002 bond default.

Ghana's seizure of the warship Libertad "is against the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity," an Argentine foreign ministry statement said, alleging the lawsuit by NML Capital was fraudulent.

"The foreign ministry has already taken steps to clarify to the African nation's government the fraud these financiers have perpetrated," it said.

The director general of Ghana's ports authority confirmed the Libertad had been held in line with a court order.

"I can confirm that the ship has been detained in Ghana on the order of the court," Richard Anamoo told AFP.

"It is not Ghanaian authorities that have taken a decision to arrest or detain the ship, but rather it was a court order which needed to be complied with," he said.

"The owners of the ship would have to pay the money or appear in court to defend their case."

Between 2005 and 2010 Argentina refinanced and rescheduled its repayment of 93 percent of the almost $100 billion default it incurred in 2001.

Among the unsettled business were bonds held by speculative funds seeking to recoup their money through the courts.

Argentina also has more than $6.5 billion in debt with the Paris Club of government creditors.

In Washington, the non-governmental American Task Force Argentina, which seeks fair resolution of the Argentine default, voiced its dismay.

"Argentina's status as an international scofflaw has been well documented," the AFFA said in a statement. "International creditors have won more than 100 court judgments against the Argentina government, but Argentina has refused to honor any of these judgments, even though it has the means to pay, with more then $45 billion in reserves."

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