Argentina looks poised to defy a U.S. judge who ruled the country in contempt in a long-running row with hedge funds over defaulted debt. Paul Chapman reports
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 Lawyers for Argentina and the hedge funds it's rowing with about defaulted debt payments were back before a U.S. court on Monday. The hearing ended with the judge holding the South American nation in contempt because he said the country was trying to get around his rulings by making payments in Argentina. Lawyers for both sides were saying little. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CARMINE BOCCUZZI, LAWYER FOR ARGENTINA, SAYING: I'm not commenting on the proceedings before the court." (SOUNDBITE)(English) COURT-APPOINTED MEDIATOR JACK POLLACK SAYING: "The court has made clear its position. The court has a job to do and I have my job." Argentina missed a bond coupon payment in July after the same judge said it couldn't be made unless it also paid $1.3 billion to U.S. hedge funds demanding full repayment. Despite the contempt ruling Argentina on Tuesday looked set to make an interest payment of $200 million to a bank in its own territory. Argentina's foreign minister is outraged by the judge's ruling. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) ARGENTINE FOREIGN MINISTER HECTOR TIMERMAN SAYING: "It's absolutely inconceivable that litigants have even considered that a local judge can declare Argentina in contempt of court. This pretension can only correspond to ignorance or an altered perception of the basic rules of international law and the peaceful co-existence of the global order." Tuesday's planned payment may allow Argentina to argue that it's made its payments as required and is not in default. Its officials have made a similar argument since the same judge stopped the Bank of New York processing $539 million deposited in June.