UPDATE 2-Argentina aims to skirt U.S. court, bring debt under national law

miércoles 20 de agosto de 2014 01:12 GYT

(Adds more quotes from president, analyst, context)

By Sarah Marsh and Walter Bianchi

BUENOS AIRES Aug 19 (Reuters) - President Cristina Fernandez on Tuesday unveiled legislation that seeks to push bondholders to swap defaulted debt for new notes governed by Argentine law, a move aimed at skirting a U.S. ruling that prevented her government from paying its creditors.

Argentina slid into default last month after a New York court blocked an interest payment of $539 million owed to holders of debt issued under U.S. legislation that was restructured after the country's record 2002 default.

The judge said Argentina could not proceed with that payment until it had also settled on repayment terms with a group of hedge funds that had rejected the restructuring deal and are demanding full payment.

Fernandez has argued Argentina is not in default and has consistently labeled the adverse U.S. court rulings an attack on Argentine sovereignty. The draft bill appeared to be an attempt to bring Argentina's debt management back under its full control.

"If bondholders decide - in individual or collective form - to ask for a change of the legislation and jurisdiction of their bonds ... the economy ministry is authorized to implement a swap for new public bonds under local legislation, Fernandez said in a televised statement.

A new bond swap carries legal risks, analysts said, and appeared to kill hopes that Argentina might soon reach a deal with the hedge-fund holdouts, enabling it to exit default.

A prolonged debt crisis is seen deepening the country's economic recession, weakening the ailing currency and sapping thin foreign currency reserves.   Continuación...