Fernández meets AOC after Supreme Court corruption accusation

Last week the US Congresswoman condemned a vulture fund billionaire and a US Supreme Court Justice for alleged collusion in a case against Argentina

President Alberto Fernández met with Democratic U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) on Monday following her accusing a Supreme Court judge who ruled against Argentina in 2014 of corruption. 

The brief meeting took place in the Argentine consulate in New York — Fernández is set to make a speech at the United Nations Headquarters on Tuesday morning.

On September 15, Ocasio-Cortez accused billionaire Paul Singer, owner of the vulture fund NML, of bribing Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito who later ruled in favor of the tycoon in his lawsuit against Argentina.

“In 2014, Justice Samuel Alito and the [Supreme] Court agreed to resolve a vital issue in a decades-long battle between Singer’s hedge fund and the nation of Argentina,” she said in a Supervision Committee hearing in the Chamber of Representatives.

A June investigation by US media outlet ProPublica reported that Singer had sponsored a vacation Justice Alito took at an Alaskan luxury fishing lodge in 2008. The lodge charged more than US$1,000 a day, and the round trip in a private jet cost close to US$200,000, according to the outlet’s estimates. The ruling against Argentina earned Singer US$2.4 billion.

“Not a bad return on investment for a fishing trip there,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

According to a presidential press release, AOC provided thorough details of the investigation she had outlined last week while Fernández was “also concerned by the actions of some members of the judiciary,” giving his support and committing to analyze how to move forward with the investigation.

Argentina vs. NML

After the 2001 crisis in Argentina, NML Capital, a branch of Elliott Investment Management, purchased Argentine sovereign debt at a steep discount. After the country recovered economically, most creditors accepted the government’s debt restructuring proposal, which had a sharp discount. But Singer held out and started a legal campaign to have the country pay in full.

In 2012, the hedge fund famously attempted to seize an Argentine navy ship in Ghana, the “Fragata Libertad.” The embargo made headlines.

The case took over 13 years of litigation, a process that saw Argentina embark on an international crusade against “vulture funds.” 

“The U.S. government filed a brief on Argentina’s side, warning that the case raised ‘extraordinarily sensitive foreign policy concerns,’” ProPublica wrote.

However, in 2014, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case, which centered on “how much protection Argentina could claim as a sovereign nation against the hedge fund’s legal maneuvers in U.S. courts,” according to ProPublica’s investigation. The Court ruled in Singer’s favor with Alito’s vote.

The fishing trip is not the only link between Justice Alito and Singer. The two appeared together at a 2009 dinner of the conservative group The Federalist Society. Alito spoke at the gathering after being introduced by Singer. 

The next year, Alito delivered the keynote speech at a dinner for donors at the Manhattan Institute, Singer’s conservative think tank. According to ProPublica, Singer also introduced Alito that evening.

“[It’s] the biggest scandal in American democracy, extraordinary corruption and the wholesale purchase of members of the Supreme Court,” said Ocasio-Cortez.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald