No Vulture Left Behind

Judge Griesa, Your rulings are non-performing as neither Argentina’s legitimate restructured bondholders nor the Cayman Islands vulture funds have received a single cent, and possibly never will if you remain in office.

Your judgments are also non-compliant as you have uniquely and ackwardly twisted an entire body of previously solid and functional jurisprudence to fit your purpose, to theextreme of illegally withholding hundreds of millions of dollars which belong to their rightfull owners while sophomorically declaring a sovereign nation-state in “contempt of court”.

Furthermore, all of your decisions are absolutely un-compliable as literally no-one would ever receive a single cent if they were followed (vulture funds be advised…)

“We’re Now In The Soup”

Talking about money, “gold is money, the rest is credit ” were J.P.Morgan’s famous words.

As per official court records, yours will surely be “we are now in the soup“(sic).

But it’s definetly your soup we are in Sir… a very gooey, distasteful legal-financial “gringo gumbo” of your own cooking indeed Your Honor.

Prof. Dr. Anna Gelpern –undisputed Princeton scholar and unequivocal top-tier authority on this specific subject matter– has left on record in no uncertain terms that

 The world of sovereign debt is (now) deeply dysfunctional” …courtesy of Your Honor.

Judge Griesa, you have overplayed your Wall Street-centric hand while in the process deeply messed up the sovereign debt market to the tune of $ 55 Trillion dollars ( 3.5 times US GDP)

“Made in USA”

Actually, your Griesamess so far has

(a) thwarted the world’s largest ever and most successfull sovereign debt re-structuring process in history.

(b) negatively and unnecessarily tinkered with the fate of millions upon millions of people, way beyond Argentina’s (according to the IMF)

(c) produced zero positive outcomes (no creditor received a cent, and possibly never will) thus setting a perfect example of what every judiciary anywhere should not never ever do.

(d) left the Euro’s huge sovereign debt with an un-manageable precedent that will necessarily bite back.

(e) literally shoved Argentina under the bus while trying hard to push the sovereign debt market out of the US dollar sphere of influence.

(f ) biasly favored highly suspicious Cayman Island US political campaign heavyweight contributors (also known as Vulture Funds for a reason) who never ever lent out a single cent to anyone.

Nouriel Roubini (no introduction required) has left on record that your un-believable judgments

“…risk destroying the current international regime for the orderly restructuring of sovereign debts…”(sic)

By the way Your Honor: China, Russia, and Iran are most grateful for all of your hard, un-sollicited work in their favor.

For example, for the first time ever, now a foreign country (China) is going to establish a base in Argentine territory, the very first one in the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

Are you happy Sir ?

Does the White House fully grasp the impact of your pedantry ?

The perfect debt storm

Joseph Stiglitz –no introduction required either– quote:

” (your decisions) threaten to upend global sovereign debt markets, harm developing nations, and challenge New York’s position as a global financial capital…”

Thanks to your unique ‘legal’ gibberish Your Honor, the sheer facts today are that

(1) Restructured bond holders still left unpaid as your financial hostages (collateral damage ?) by merrily blocking Argentina’s traditionally prompt payments as if you had any right to do so.

(2) Argentina is unnecessarily having to struggle with international financial markets after having already paid back USD $ 195+ billion of its sovereign debt service since its 2001 default.

(3) CDS non-collection: why isn’t ISDA happy yet ?  CDS is supposed to be insurance against default, isn’t it ?  What’s missing then ?

(4) Bank of New York Mellon has been dismissed from Argentina and sued (not thanked a bit for their dis-service)

(5) Citibank probably running the same fate as BoNYM (life and US judiciary can be simultaneously silly and tough, can’t they ?)

(6) Ditto J.P.Morgan, which together with Citi both have been authorized twice by Your Honor for a “one-off, one-time only” payment (go figure…)

Your pound of flesh

92.4% of creditors reached agreement with Argentina, for a reason (common sense)

Yet you insist in that even 99.99% of acceptance wouldn’t be enough because 100% is the minimum required, right ?

So, according to your griesamess entropic logic, a 0.01% creditor can torpedo the whole process… meaning that restructuring of sovereign bad loans is impossible (albeit badly needed)

Judge Griesa, it’s obvious that vulture funds couldn’t possibly collect anything (let alone the 1600% profit they pretend) if 92.4% of creditors didn’t get haircutted.

In other words, once that 92.4 % of creditors are strongly haircutted only then do the vultures come around (under your protection) and at their expense collect their lion’s share, right ?

So let’s be crystal clear on this: the larger and the more widely accepted the haircut by the restructured bondholders then the more and better the vultures can collect as their prey recovers faster and healthier, thus leaving more funds available for THEM thanks to the financing thus rendered by the restructured bond holders.

Instead, Argentina time and again has offered the vulture fund friends a 300% profit on their investment by paying them exactly the same as restructured bondholders  (92.4% of creditors)

But vulture funds are way more ambitious than that…

The vulture ‘business model’

VFs buy fully repudiated bonds after a sovereign debtor has already defaulted (a.k.a. in ‘state of bankruptcy’ where no valid transaction takes place) then sit tight waiting for every other creditor to help out the defaulted country by accepting a steep haircut. Later, taking advantage of the refreshed payment capacity of their recovering prey (thanks to everybody else’s haircut) they pounce in with YOUR support harassing their victim while claiming to collect 100% plus plus plus. And just in case that US justice isn’t able to support their business goals as you have, they buy CDSs (Credit Default Swaps) as insurance…

So, rogue creditors need rogue courts, but when they do find them (as in this case) they make a good team don’t they ?

“Champerty” made all this flagrantly illegal, but you don’t seem to care much about it, do you ?

Real vulture birds are needed by nature because they recycle dead carcasses, a good thing.

Vulture funds are terribly harmful to the world economy because they prey upon deeply hurt (yet recoverable) economies… only if they weren’t supported by rogue courts.

Still, one practical problem-person for this ‘vulture medley’ is the 800 lb. gorilla watching the scene from a high limb while munching away his morning bananas: debts that can’t be paid, won’t be.

Let alone if such payment of debt corresponds, for good reason, to utterly un-enforceable contracts such as sovereign debt bonds which, by definition and as the whole wide legal world knows perfectly well (except you) is strictly voluntary. This is not an opinion, it’s lack of internationally accepted law, and it’s also history Sir.

The US Dept. of Justice made it clear to you by stating in their Amicus Curiae brief

… sovereign debt restructuring will become substantially more difficult, if not impossible, if holdout creditors are allowed to use novel interpretations of boilerplate bond provisions (pari passu clauses) to interfere with the performance of a restructuring plan accepted by most creditors…”

If this “soup” of yours were the glory that your long-postponed retirement had envisioned, chances are judge Griesa that history will not (and should not) be benevolent with you.

It will be daunting and hardly elegant to find a way out of the hole you have dug up for yourself and for the rest of the world.


No vulture left behind

Now, thanks to your muddled-headed rulings Sir

(7) The $ 55 Trillion sovereign debt market has been left fully befuddled in the midst of your very personal legal-financial ‘gringo gumbo’ limbo mess.

(8) Vulture funds miss their money Sir and, the way things are going, they may also end up hating you as the possibility of collecting what they had expected (1600% profits) is getting farther and farther away.

(9) Ironically, your New York City should decline as legal venue for global debt as already warned by the Treasury and State Dept. in their ‘Amicus Curiae” brief which you have thoroughly and repeatedly read out loud

(10) The US shamefully converted into “clearing house” for vulture funds’ full discovery (precise information) of Argentina’s seizable assets worldwide so that they don’t waste time, money and energy finding that out.

(11) SCOTUS and the US Court of Appeals left in shameful disgrace by tacitly upholding your judgments by ignoring the case and supporting full “discovery” as stated above.

(12) The US Attorney General and the US Solicitor General have been proved to be blatantly non-compliant by not applying “comity” powers to stop you dead on your tracks.

Is yet there any bigger fish to fry all by yourself Sir ?

The ‘Griesamess Doctrine

Let’s go through a dozen of additional consequences as back-drop

(13) The UN Human Rights Council, the world’s highest intergovernmental human-rights body, by a 33 to 5 vote has condemned and will investigate vulture fund activities (which you approve of and foster)

(14) The UN General Assembly by a 124 to 11 vote has approved the preparation of a convention to avoid vulture funds activities (which you approve of and foster)

(15) The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) has proposed new terms for sovereign debt bonds in order to reduce the risk of being disrupted by vulture funds (which you approve of and foster)

(16) The Organization of American States (OAS) has voted overwhelmingly in favor (29-1-1) of Argentina against your Cayman Islands vulture funds friends ((which you approve of and foster)

(17) Your parochial judgments should provoke “reciprocal adverse treatment of the United States in foreign courts“(sic) as per US Supreme Court Chief Justice Dr. Antonin Scalia.

(18) Your pedantic rulings have prompted the United Nations Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Finances to design an efficient and fair system for the restructuring of sovereign debt.

(19) No one involved in your Griesamess “soup’ can follow your line of thought Sir, including TBTF trustees banks, governments, the IMF, Euroclear, ICMA, bondholders, the UN, ISDA… not one Your Honor.

There’s also (20) your hardly-credible Special Master Dan Pollack (also friend of yours maybe ?) who has surely enjoyed your ride so far to the tune of $ 250,000 per month for setting forth a most negative US foreign and financial policy.

This “Griesamess Doctrine” of yours (for lack of a better term) includes the flamboyant and certainly unique idea (21) of a NYCity court imposing ‘contempt sanctions’ on a sovereign… a rightfully aggrieved sovereign nation state which had most successfully remedied its 2001 default until you came around with unmitigated support for highly suspicious Cayman Islands vulture funds.

To top it all off, your have (22) ruled that Argentina’s payments to legitimate restructured bondholders are “illegal” (?!) and (23) recently declared a law of the sovereign Republic of Argentina to also be “illegal”… while (24) you are constantly confusing bonds subject to Argentine law, with other bonds subject to English law or Japanese law….

Prof. Dr. Anna Gelpern, again “…Up to half the debt could be in or out depending on how these questions are resolved… it’s scary.”

It’s impossible to make this stuff up…

Civics 101

No matter what, sovereign nation states cannot sign away their rights, same as individuals, remember ?

So, does ‘nation state’ and its corresponding (by definition) unwaiverable sovereign decision-making powers and unsurrendable jurisdictional immunities mean anything to you Sir ?

Let’s try Latin (maybe it works this time around) :  ‘par in parem imperium non habet’

Simpler, yet possibly more convincing, as per US Supreme Court Chief Justice Dr. Antonin Scalia, you are setting forth “…a substantial invasion of sovereignty“(sic)

Got it now Your Honor ?

By the way, claimants to a sovereign nation-state’s resources include not only formal creditors.

The precedence principle in this case mandates priority to pensioners, for example.

Are you aware of that Sir ?

Down to Earth

No Sir, this is not a run-of-the-mill Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

On the one hand you have an ultra-suspicious type of “plaintiff”, namely Cayman Island US political campaign heavyweight contributors, a.k.a. Vulture Funds.

On the other hand you have a sovereign nation-state, namely the Republic of Argentina, however ‘recalcitrant'(sic) you may have deemed it to be.

The term “sovereign Republic of Argentina” has been mentioned in your court records dozens and dozens of times, if not hundreds.

The etymology of the term “Republic” origins in Latin thru ‘res-publica’ meaning “public thing, matter or affair”

The subject matter at hand is Argentina’s collective public debt affecting 42 million people and their offspring.

It doesn’t get any more “public” than that, Sir.

So Your Honor, this subject matter is within the scope of public law NOT private law.

“Sovereign” means ‘supreme independent authority not subject to any other power or state”

What Leviathan giveth, Leviathan taketh away” remember ?

Surely you get the picture by now, don’t you Sir ?

It’s not called “sovereign debt” for nothing.

No Your Honor, your parochial Contract Law is not applicable because this is not a family restaurant bankruptcy in the Upper East Side.

Dr. Griesa plays chicken

Georgetown U. Prof. Dr. Adam J. Levitin has been thorough and precise describing the worldwide implications of your judgments.

His must-read Wall Street Journal piece describing “the Mother of Collective Action battles” can be found at

The political and policy impact of your tortuous, harmful legal acrobatics is what Dr. Levitin calls “… a high-stakes game of chicken with a sovereign state… that U.S. courts cannot and should not win…”

True enough, Executive Branch “comity” powers should have cut your rogue performance down to size.

But you were curiously yielded right of way for your legal nonsense possibly because the White House has been too busy fighting one of its multiple (7) Nobel Peace Prize wars, some of which have been lost already while the few remaining ones are defeats-in-progress.

Be it as it may, the final outcome for all intents and purposes has been a shameful milestone of biased judicial partiality through which debt-relief is being forced to turn into unsustainable debt-pain.

Even current New York Federal Reserve Vice-President Thomas Baxter got his fair share of the Griesamess entropy by raising serious concern regarding the impact of your rulings upon the flow velocity of  the $2.6 Trillion payments system. Besides your self-evident bias, this dilettante judiciary experiment of yours has led to literally NOWHERE.

Dr. Levitin adds :

“The U.S. monopoly on violence ends at the border; at that point, it becomes a matter of foreign relations and not an issue for the judicial branch.”

“Argentina’s intransigence may have angered the courts, but abstention would have been the right approach.”

Abbott & Costello

Who’s on first ?

Not a single party directly or indirectly involved in your Griesamess “soup’ can follow your line of thought Sir.

Not Argentina, not TBTF trustee banks, not the restructured bondholders, not Euroclear, not ISDA, not ICMA, not UNCTAD, not the IMF, not the US Treasury Dept., not the Fed, not the United Nations… eventually, not even your vulture funds !

What are all these stakeholders supposed to do, keep waiting till you retire, or are impeached, or pass away (whichever comes first) ?

Has anything constructive or positive been left for future sovereign debt-restructuring processes or you also plan on the whole wide world not having any ever again ?

There are $ 55 Trillion of sovereign debt dollars waiting out there Sir, ready to take your gringo gumbo limbo as ‘legal’ precedent.

Judge Griesa, you have managed to engender a lose-lose, all-and-sundry lose monster, which will also eat you up Sir.

What’s on second ?

You have flipped the ‘pari passu’ equitable treatment criterion on its head by now ‘compelling’ (sic) the Argentine State to pay vulture funds FAR FAR FAR MORE and FAR FAR FAR BETTER than restructured bondholders to the tune of 1600%. If your absurd rulings were complied with, vulture funds would be paid EVERYTHING plus plus in a lump sum right NOW (principal, 12-year accrued interests with country risk PREMIUM of 10-15% p.a., punitive charges + astronomical legal fees) in the event that ANY interests at all are paid to the restructured (haircutted) bond holders on their discounted debt, which has always been promptly serviced by Argentina to the tune of $ 195+ billion since its 2001 most-successfully managed default.

The above is exactly OPPOSITE to “equitable” and fully ignores the fact that the sovereign nation-state Republic of Argentina couldn’t possibly avoid DEFAULT (as in Chapter 9 insolvency, think Detroit… you follow ?). Let’s now recall your own opinion (on official court record) regarding ‘pari passu’ on June 15, 2004: ” …(such possibility)… seems to me a very odd interpretation of the ‘pari passu’ clause

What or who made you change your mind Sir ?

The US Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 4) foresees bankruptcy for a reason Your Honor.

For any country other than the US (which can print dollars at will, something that’s changing fast, beware) until its HUGE bad loans are restructured, as per Economics 101 all that’s left is deflation Sir.

Hyperinflation of its currency is another choice…which immediately also leads to deflation, the dreaded status where everybody loses, let alone creditors.

Judge Griesa, you are either unbelievably ignorant, inept and mis-informed, and/or vested interests overwhelm your decisions.

Have you ever taken into account the required DEFAULT RISK that super PREMIUM interest rates (10 – 15 % p.a.) necessarily meant for the original creditors that lent money to Argentina ?

They knew that allright THEN, why don’t YOU now ?

The market stakeholders knew perfectly well that the probability of default was embedded in the interest rate.

And if banks convinced little old widows otherwise, then go after the banks, not Argentina.

Resign, just resign

Sir, you may feel good trying to play super-hardball as a farewell grand finale to your prolongued career since President “Tricky Dick” Nixon ushered you into office, but you are way above your league.

So it’s high time for you to just accept your Griesamess, do no further harm, and simply resign.

Thus, the whole wide world will finally welcome a decision of yours.

And may the Lord forgive your sins.

At the very least, Pope Francis surely will.

He is Argentine.

Jorge Vilches is a former op-ed columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He can be reached at:

Jorge Vilches is a financial op-ed columnist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He can be reached at: