Argentina’s Economy Ministry defiantly asserted again late Friday that the country has made a required debt payment on restructured sovereign bonds, just hours after a federal judge threatened a contempt-of-court order if Argentina did not stop issuing such statements.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa, who has overseen the nation’s long-running debt battle with hedge funds, railed at Argentina’s lawyers at a hearing in New York a day after the publication of another so-called legal notice insisting that the government met its payment requirements and was therefore not in default.
Holding a newspaper copy of the notice, Griesa said that if the false statements did not stop, a contempt-of-court order will become necessary.
Argentina’s Economy Ministry then issued a statement accusing Griesa of “clear partiality in favor of the vulture funds.”
Meanwhile, a State Department spokeswoman said the United States would not permit the International Court of Justice in The Hague to hear Argentina’s claims that U.S. court decisions had violated its sovereignty.
Argentina petitioned the international court Thursday, but the lawsuit could only move forward if the United States submitted voluntarily to the court’s jurisdiction.
Argentina missed a coupon payment after a grace period ended July 30, pushing it into default on restructured debt from a previous default in 2002 on about $100 billion in sovereign bonds.
Sixty-three death claims have been filed so far with the lawyer handling payments for those involved in wrecks caused by faulty ignition switches in General Motors vehicles.
Camille Biros, a spokeswoman for compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg, said he received 125 claims by Friday afternoon. Sixty-two others seek payments for injuries. Feinberg started taking claims Aug. 1.
Biros said Feinberg still has to determine if the claims are eligible for payments.
GM has recalled 2.6 million small cars to replace the switches, and the company hired Feinberg to compensate the injured and the families of people killed.
On Friday, GM issued six more recalls totaling more than 312,000 vehicles. The recalls in North America pushed GM’s total for the year to a record 66, covering just over 29 million cars and trucks. The largest of Friday’s recalls covers 215,243 Saturn Vue SUVs from the 2002 through 2004 model years.
— Associated Press
● During the first month of legal marijuana sales in Washington state, stores sold just under $3.8 million, which is expected to bring in more than $1 million in state taxes. A spokesman for the state’s Liquor Control Board said it appears the new industry is off to a strong start. Although licenses have been issued for about 40 stores, only 18 were selling pot in July, and 16 of them have reported sales so far. During the first month of retail marijuana sales in Colorado, the state collected closer to $2 million in excise and sales taxes.
● Google has agreed to create a $250 million internal program to disrupt rogue online pharmacies as part of a deal to end shareholder litigation over accusations that the search company improperly allowed ads from non-U.S. drug sellers. Google said it would make content about prescription drug abuse more visible and work with legitimate pharmacies to counter marketing by rogue sellers, according to documents filed in an Oakland, Calif., federal court Thursday.
● More than two dozen state attorneys general urged federal regulators to impose restrictions on electronic cigarettes with a ban on more than 7,000 flavors now available. In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, they said limits on advertising and prohibiting flavors besides tobacco and menthol will help protect minors. In April, the federal agency proposed treating e-cigarettes as tobacco products, putting them under its regulatory control.
— From news services