UPDATE 1-U.S. judge says Citigroup can process Argentina's next bond payment
(Updates with background on litigation, comment from Citi, quote from court-appointed mediator)
By Nate Raymond and Daniel Bases
NEW YORK Nov 10 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge ruled on Monday that Citigroup Inc could process an $85 million interest payment by Argentina on bonds issued under its local laws following its 2002 default.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in New York said Citigroup could process the Dec. 31 payment it receives on U.S. dollar-denominated Argentine law bonds.
The judge also called off a Dec. 9 hearing over whether the bank could regularly process payments Argentina makes on the bonds. Briefing will be deferred into 2015.
Griesa's order gives Citigroup further breathing room in a dispute between hedge funds suing over defaulted Argentine debt, known as holdout creditors, and the country, which defaulted in July.
Citigroup has said it faces regulatory and criminal sanctions by Argentina if it does not process interest payments on Argentina bonds issued under local law.
Danielle Apsilos-Romero, a Citigroup spokeswoman, confirmed that the order will allow processing of the $85 million payment.
A spokesman for Elliott Management's NML Capital Ltd, one of the holdouts, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Argentina's economy ministry was not immediately available for comment. Continuación...