YPF: Argentina appeals ruling ordering US$16-billion payment

Burford requested Judge Loretta Preska to seize Argentine assets starting in October 15, which the country appealed on Tuesday

Argentina has officially appealed a September 15 ruling by U.S. Judge Loretta Preska ordering the country to pay US$16.1 billion to the plaintiffs represented by Burford Capital in the YPF expropriation case. A letter addressed to Preska — signed by attorney Robert Giuffra Jr. and dated October 10 — outlined that Argentina also appealed five memorandums, opinions and orders by Preska to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

On Wednesday, Burford Capital sent a letter to Preska asking her to require Argentina to provide collateral, claiming that Argentina’s arguments to not do so are “unfounded and exaggerated.”

“Argentina will resist asset discovery, insist on lengthy Hague Convention service in other jurisdictions, and throw up any other obstacle it can at every turn,” the letter, signed by attorney Randy Mastro said.

Burford Capital had requested authorization from Preska to seize Argentine assets starting on October 15. “Argentina’s refusal to pay judgments is well documented and widely recognized,” Burford made that request on September 22. Argentina, represented by the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm, sent a letter to Preska calling Burford’s motion “premature” as it would appeal, adding that the payment would be equivalent to “nearly 20% of the Republic’s 2023 federal budget.” 

If Preska ruled in favor of Burford regarding the seizing of assets, the stay on her ruling would be lifted and Burford would have the right to try to forcibly collect, if it managed to find any assets it could seize. Argentina would then appeal that ruling in an Appeals Court. If she ruled in favor of Argentina — which would be a first in this lawsuit — Burford wouldn’t be able to forcefully collect anything until the case had a final judgment of the Appeals Chamber, eventually with a decision of the Supreme Court.

In 2012, through its Congress, Argentina expropriated shares of oil and gas company YPF held by the Spanish multinational Repsol, at the time the majority shareholder. Three years later, Burford Capital bought the trial rights from two companies belonging to the Argentine Eskenazi family, Petersen Energia Inversora and Petersen Energía, and another company, Eton Park. They considered that Argentina failed to make a tender offer for their YPF shares in 2012.


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