YPF expropriation case: Preska grants stay extension to Argentina

The judge gave the country extra time to allow for Milei’s administration to take over

U.S. Judge Loretta Preska extended a stay on the YPF expropriation’s final ruling on Wednesday, moving it from December 5 to January 30, granting a request made by Argentina. The country’s lawyer, Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., had argued on Monday that president-elect Javier Milei would be sworn in five days after the original deadline and that his team would need more time to analyze the case.

In 2012, Argentina expropriated 51% of the shares of oil and gas company YPF from Spanish multinational Repsol, at the time the majority shareholder. Three years later, Burford Capital bought the trial rights and took Argentina to court, claiming that it failed to make a tender offer for their YPF shares in 2012. Preska ruled in their favor in September, ordering Argentina to pay a total of US$16.09 billion to the plaintiffs represented by Burford Capital — the country appealed at New York’s Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

On November 21, Preska issued a memorandum ordering Argentina to pledge certain assets as a condition to postpone the enforcement of the lawsuit beyond December 5 — namely, part of the country’s equity interest in YPF and Paraguay’s upcoming payment for the Yacyretá dam. Argentina had requested an extension to January 10, but Preska accepted its request to extend the stay to “accommodate the new administration in Argentina,” according to a two-page ruling the Herald had access to.

Preska also allowed a one-week extension to Argentina’s deadline to file its opening brief to the Court of Appeals, now also set for January 30, 2024.

If Argentina doesn’t pledge its assets by January 10, the temporary stay expires and the appeals process will continue with Burford having the possibility to exert legal pressure on the country.

Preska also demanded the country request expedited treatment in the Court of Appeals on January 30 to keep the stay.

President-elect Javier Milei has pledged to privatize YPF. As per Article 10 of the country’s 2012 expropriation law, transferring the state-owned YPF’s shares — to sell them or use them as collateral — would require approval by a two-thirds majority in Congress.

The upcoming decision on whether Argentina will try to offer YPF’s shares as collateral for the lawsuit is in the hands of Milei’s administration. The current Prosecutor’s Office of the Treasury, the government’s office handling the case, has not begun the transition process with Milei’s team.


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