Argentina may defy New York courts with payment offer

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — With just hours to go before Argentina shows its last cards in a billion-dollar debt showdown in U.S. courts, President Cristina Fernandez seems to be keeping up her “we’re going for more” motto. Her government is reportedly preparing a response that analysts say could lead the country into another catastrophic default.

Argentina has until midnight to say how it would satisfy a $1.4 billion judgment won by plaintiffs who have insisted on getting full payment in cash, plus interest and penalties, on sovereign debt that the country hasn’t paid since its world-record default in 2002.

Rather than the quick cash payout ordered by the courts, Argentina will likely offer new bonds that won’t come fully due for up to 35 years. And rather than pay in full, the government will insist on paying no more than 30 percent to start with.

If true, this would amount to open defiance of the U.S. federal courts, Wall Street analysts say.

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