NEW YORK, Jan 14 (IFR) - Argentina’s newly installed government has hired sovereign restructuring expert Lee Buchheit as it reopens negotiations to resolve a decade-long battle with holdout investors, sources told IFR.
Buchheit’s law firm Cleary Gottlieb advised the prior administration of President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner in its standoff with litigant hedge funds.
But Buchheit himself was not involved in those negotiations as he had previously advised the Dart family, another holdout investor who had disputed debt payments with Brazil in the 1990s.
Such a decision was seen as a mistake given Buchheit’s skills in settling quarrels between governments and bondholders.
Not only did he help Iceland in its standoff with bank creditors, but he was also the architect of Greece’s 200bn exchange offer in 2012 - the largest ever sovereign restructuring.
“The new government clearly wanted a different strategy,” said one legal expert. “Lee would not have allowed that litigation to happen, I suspect.”
Another law firm is also to be appointed alongside Cleary Gottlieb, and possibly a financial adviser.
Argentina’s finance secretary Luis Caputo was in New York to meet with creditors and Daniel Pollack, the special master appointed by the US courts to help broker a solution.
The finance ministry said Argentina will propose a solution to the legal battle by the week of January 25, Reuters reported. (Reporting By Chris Spink; Editing by Paul Kilby and Shankar Ramakrishnan)