Ministry publicly spars with U.S. judge

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.

— Reuters

125 claims filed so far over failed GM device

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

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