Singer has his sights on long battle
Liquidator for IBRC Kieran Wallace (left).
The emergence of Paul Singer’s Elliott Management as the force behind the latest attempt to stymie the winding up of IBRC will not have been greeted warmly in Merrion Street. Singer is no stranger to taking on sovereign governments that don’t pay up and his track record to date is pretty impressive. Singer has fought the government of Argentina for the best part of a decade in a case that has gone all the way to the US supreme court.
The case stems from Argentina’s default in 2001 when a small number of hedge funds refused to accept the restructuring sought by the Argentine government. He has got the US courts to accept his complex legal arguments that the terms of the Argentine bonds mean the South American nation cannot pay bond holders who agree to the restructuring and ignore him. This summer the Argentines asked the US Supreme Court to review the ruling of the New York courts that it must pay Singer in full.
The fear in Irish Government circles is Singer will proceed in a similar manner with IBRC and the move to stop the bank’s US assets being put into bankruptcy protection is just the first step in a long war that could cause all sorts of problems. He has become a rallying point for the various parties that were unhappy with moves to protect the banks US assets. The first round is due to take place tomorrow when the Delaware courts are due to hear the application for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection by the liquidator Kieran Wallace (left). Singer is already looking for a delay so it’s likely to be a protracted process and he will no doubt ratchet up the pressure. Last October he seized an Argentine navy training ship docked in Ghana on foot of the debt. At least the Asgard is out of his clutches at the bottom of the Bay of Biscay.