Thursday, October 11th 2012 - 23:20 UTC

Ghana court denies release of ARA Libertad detained on a complaint from US hedge fund

A Ghana court judge rejected on Thursday the plea put forward by Argentina to release the ARA Libertad training ship, which has been detained in a port close to Accra with its crew since October 2nd due to a complaint by a US hedge fund.

First round for billionaire Paul Singer

“There are no sufficient grounds for the plaintiff (Argentina) to disallow a court sentence. The motion has been rejected,” stated Judge Richard Adjei Frimpong, of the Accra Commercial Tribunal.

On Tuesday the government had asked the Commercial Court to free the ship that is detained with more than 200 crew members in the West African country.

Officials of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority said they will release the ship only after they receive a court order. The tall ship ARA Libertad is being held at Tema port near the capital, Accra.

Solicitors for the hedge fund said they are willing to accept 20 million dollars for the release of the vessel. ARA Libertad is valued at 10 million dollars.

The complicated case involves players in three nations: Argentina, Ghana and the United States. The ARA Libertad is a three-masted tall ship that stopped at Tema while training hundreds of Argentine navy cadets.

The seizure of the flagship of Argentina’s Navy stems from a complaint from a US hedge fund. Elliott Capital Management’s lawyers have searched worldwide for ways of collecting on Argentine bonds bought at fire-sale prices following Argentina’s record debt default a decade ago. The 15bn dollar hedge fund is run by billionaire Paul Singer.

Most bondholders eventually agreed to cancel Argentina’s bad debts for about 30 cents on the dollar, but Singer is among those holding out for the full promised value of those notes, plus interest. Courts in the United States and Britain have granted judgments worth 1.6 billion dollars to the hedge fund, but it and other bondholders are still suing for billions more. Argentina has refused to pay.

The Argentine foreign ministry says the seizure violates international law and that President Cristina Fernández will not bend to extortion. Argentine diplomats are working with the African government to “clarify the trickery that these unscrupulous financiers from vulture funds have mounted” the Argentine ministry said in a release.

ARA Libertad was visiting Ghana as part of a West African tour and it is due to head to Angola. She is carrying a promotion of Argentine naval cadets plus others invited from other countries in South America and Africa.

43 comments Feed

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1 Pete Bog (#) Oct 11th, 2012 - 11:26 pm Report abuse
Pay your debts Argentina.
2 Pirat-Hunter (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 12:12 am Report abuse
For 20 million dollars we can give them 20 million pesos or else they can keep the ship libertad for ever in their history books and know why their life changed, but we want a receipt.... .lol what Argentina needs is a nuclear defence program at home made with our own devices.
3 Britninja (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 12:25 am Report abuse
@2 Well Alex, since you're an unemployed slob living with your parents, why don't you utilise your spare time and make Argentina some weapons from toilet tubes and your facial hair? You can be a national hero!
4 Eddy_kiwi (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 12:28 am Report abuse
I'm not sure I understand this: Argentina defaulted on the bonds, and these investors seek to have the lent money repaid in full.

What I don't understand is how Argentina has gotten by for so long without resolving the matter (or being forced to resolve it). But I'm also not catching how could investors demand the full value of a defaulted bond. Isn't this like me going into bankrupcy protection in order to lower my debt load (with the severe penalties to my credit worthiness as the downside), yet still being forced to pay everything back?

What is the point of going to bankrupcy/default then?
5 Leifur_Heppni (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 12:32 am Report abuse
@2 “home made with our own devices” like i said before, it would blow in your hands. Anything made in Argentina is a bomb waiting to explode.

With the import restrictions you can soon start to build home made stuff just like Cubans, North-Koreans and Iranians...except that they make it better than you.

respect Ghana!!
6 brit abroad (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 01:09 am Report abuse

As in the Falklands strategy, no plans, no world support and Falklands and now no ship!

Time for the Falklanders to buy the ship, and turn into a museum docked in port Stanley ........ HMS Slap in the Face
7 Frank (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 01:19 am Report abuse
First the crew will run away..... then the officers will walk backwards, very slowly, down the gangway and vanish....
By this time next year the captain will be the only one left.... and he will be bartering the ship's fittings for food......
8 Idlehands (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 01:26 am Report abuse
4 Eddy_kiwi - A state defaulting on international debts is not the same as an individual claiming bankruptcy protection. Those that took a haircut did so voluntarily assessing that a 30% return was better than nothing. Others refused and have legitimately sought repayment through the courts. Argentina behaves as if it has some form of bankruptcy protection - but it doesn't. It simply refuses to pay.
9 Leifur_Heppni (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 01:28 am Report abuse
@2 i would like to add: those countries didn't choose the restrictions, you chose them at your own will. Now how dumb is that?

It is very difficult to build/maintain industry without imported spare parts. Doing all by yourself from scratch or by reverse engineering is very demanding, almost impossible, for argies it is impossible. I guess your president wants you to become poor and dumb. I mean poor. What else could be her plan?

Industria Argentina: Kaboooooom!
10 Eddy_kiwi (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 01:51 am Report abuse
Idlehands... I see. I'm not familiar with the Argentina case of debt default, but with Greece being in the news I know that Greece has gotten its creditors to shave 50% of their bond values, and this without even being official in default. I thought this sort of procedure was standard in national debt defaults.

Why was Argentina not offered the Greek solution?
11 Ayayay (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 02:04 am Report abuse
@10 The Greek haircut was voluntary, and the IMF really helped them advocate for it because of empathy over the global downturn.

Argentina got a huge haircut.too, just only 97% agreed to it.

The challenge is that Arg provinces are borrowing at a mind-blowing 24%, instead of say 1%.
12 brit abroad (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 02:46 am Report abuse
Out of interest, does anyone know if its possible to sell the crew as slaves, in return for what the slave trade did to Africa? I know you wouldn't get much, but I'm sure the Ghana heads of state would love some new servants!
13 Frank (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 03:33 am Report abuse
@12 Depends what price you set for the RGs.... their own perceived worth or their true market value
14 Teaboy2 (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 03:44 am Report abuse
@13 - They would have to pay me to take them as slaves as no way would i buy them lol
15 stick up your junta (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 06:08 am Report abuse
@13 Who would want the lazy f“””ers
16 Beef (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 06:14 am Report abuse
I thought the entire world loved Argentina and was united in the holy Argentine struggle againt the British?

Perhaps it should be sold for firewood as that is about as useful as it is?
17 Idlehands (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 06:49 am Report abuse
I predict that the vessel will be auctioned and bought by a wealthy Argentine wanting to become a hero of the nation.
18 ElaineB (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 08:13 am Report abuse
@17 Maximo?
19 brit abroad (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 08:18 am Report abuse
Let him step on it!!!!! it'll sink!!
20 Welsh Wizard (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 08:39 am Report abuse
@10 Eddy_kiwi

They were but came up withj a take it or leave it offer will almost no negotiation which ended up being way the market standard for these kinds of bedt restructuring. The issue is that, normally, when you default (or look like you are going to) you negotiate with your debtors as a whole and agree a price where there are no holdouts (i.e. 100% of bondholders agree on the price). In this case Argentina did not negotiate so they left 3% of the bondholders unhappy, as it were, which has given them a route to claim for lack of payment on their bonds. Given that argentina waived immunity in the bond issues, it allows the holdouts to seize state property as payment for the bonds. They could, in effect, seize $600m worth of state property (held outside Argentina) as payment. This is what is being contested in the courts at present, there is not yet a clear ruling on whether they can do this (in America at least). Hope that helps.
21 KretinaKK (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 11:23 am Report abuse
Kretina thinks that the government of Ghana are going to accept Choripan sausage sandwiches and Tetra paks of cheap wine, to get them to release the ship. Hey it's the same crap she feeds the crew of people she gets to vote for her and cheer her on at these 3rd world SUDAKA rallies:
Kind of reminds me of footage from Berlin, 1939 - guess which political party was ruling then? Very similar style to today's Argentina.
I commend the government of Ghana, they should be commended for being honest and a world-stage player and not buy into the propaganda of Kretina's KaKa nation!
22 gustbury (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 12:42 pm Report abuse
damn thugs and you 21 KretinaKK ( # ) shut up! idiot
23 Lou Spoo (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 12:48 pm Report abuse

Oh dear, touched a nerve did he?
24 gustbury (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 12:59 pm Report abuse
No my friend, are you nervous, more and more alone. suramerica not want them here!!
25 Simon68 (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 02:38 pm Report abuse
16 Beef (#)
Oct 12th, 2012 - 06:14 am

ARA Libertad is far too beautiful to be broken up. She is one of the thirty or so best preserved tall ships in the world.

What will most likely happen is that Argentina will pay up the US$20 million and she will quietly return home. The alternative is too embarassing for CFK, the auctioning off by the hedge fund.

Someone suggested that the FIG should buy her, this is in fact a rather good idea, she could be renamed HMFIS “Port Stanley” and show the Falklands flag around the world, probably not including all of South America!!!!!!

Alternatively the FIG could buy her and return her to the Argentine government, this would really hurt!!!!!!!!!
26 Pirat-Hunter (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 02:51 pm Report abuse
#6 sorry dude there is no dispute for the fakland islands holding they can go back to UK ASAP we have many companies like it, our problem is with the less then 3000 british illegal aliens in Islas Malvinas Argentina.
#5 where there is will there is a way. If Cuba, Iran and North Korea can build a nuclear defense without Uranium, can you imagine what Argentina could do with a little will ?
#9 we will never know if we don't build it, more dumb and stupid are those who don't even try, even if you are right Argentine's have the right to a nuclear defense program, it's clear the UN can't protect our territorial integrity by laws alone we need muscle. And a nuclear defense program will give Argentine's the muscle we need to be taken more seriously.
#7 by this time next year if Ghana doesn't accept the Argentine pesos they will own a$ dollars ship needing$ to be sea worthy. Mean while montsanto will follow the foot steps of the dinosaurs.
# 10 and #11 as a matter of fact greece got the same package Argentina got, give it time.
“Leaving financial markets free to make profit at any price has already plunged the world into a deep economic crisis. Vulture funds are a prime example of unregulated finance. If we don’t take fundamental action to deter the vultures, the situation faced by Argentina today will be faced by Greece and others tomorrow.”
#12 I am sure in UK you can not even 50 years ago white british would rape or murder black children at will I am sure in Ghana they will know something about that, I just wonder who's child is UK holding to have Ghana act like such a good slave country.
#13 you can't afford an Argentine's unlike UK and ghana subjects our arses are not for sale to the best bidder. Anything UK gets will have To be thefted by their old slaves and colonies around the world in turn Argentina will have to build a nuclear defense program
27 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 03:01 pm Report abuse
Firewood.....damn, that would be a sin. Tall ships still hold a place to all mariners. Today, it's wooden man and iron ships, that vessel still haold the days of iron men and wooden ships. Despite being argentine, or was argentine, that's a great vessel and deserves more than firewood.
Simon, she is not very old, built in 1950, hence the amazing amount of headway below decks. The real old vessels, over 100 years old, you would be amazed at how little headway there is in them, like Old Ironsides. At any rate, to destroy would she be a crime.
As for her outcome, Ghana may very well auction her off to the highest bidder for port fees.
28 brit abroad (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 03:31 pm Report abuse
Hehe ... Agree a beautiful ship and a perfect museum on falkander history... But for the falklanders to buy her we'd have to listen to more “militarising the seas bullshit” however the pride and pain inflicted would be worth it!
29 yankeeboy (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 03:39 pm Report abuse
YOu know that boat would look pretty moored in the Potomac near DC too. We could still call it Liberty and it would actually stand for that!
30 Chicureo (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 03:42 pm Report abuse
Hi Simon and Captain Poppy,
Being now an inactive officer in the Chilean Navy, I'm sincerely saddened to see the pride of our Argentinian brothers being caught up in this scandal caused by a corrupt thieving government that was clearly democratically elected. The English have a saying, “You reap what you sow...” and most certainly the humiliation CFK is experiencing is pure schadenfreude for me. (I only wish it had been Tango One instead.).
As for the crew, there having an experience of their lives to tell thir grandchildren. (Although the Captian must be furious...)
One last note: the nasty and racist comments regarding Africans and Jews is repulsive and should be removed by the editor.
Let's hope they pay the 20m and let the issue fade.

BTW: I had my ski vacation with my family in Argentina and was able to pre-pay at a heavy discount here in Chile resulting in about a 32% savings on about 70% of the normal cost. We paid cash gratuities and purchased clothing “sin boleta” at almost all the shops. As good Chileans, we decided to pretend to think like Argentinians and avoid paying taxes, it was fun! However, upon returning to Santiago, it was back to being “normal” and paying our 19% VAT.
31 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 03:54 pm Report abuse

Quite often and in most every country, the men in uniform usually pay the press of politicians stupidity. However they should be fortunate that they are only paying with pride and not blood as is often the case.
32 Chicureo (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 04:08 pm Report abuse
CP Totally agree!
33 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 04:18 pm Report abuse
I've been on the Libertad and she is an impresive ship. btw, I hold no animosity toward the people of Argentina (though I wish they would realize they can have a lot more than cfk if given them). I despise the leadership and peronism. kirchners are just outright thieving egoists.
34 KretinaKK (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 04:52 pm Report abuse
VATAYON MILITANTE - The Argentine government under Cristina Fernandez de Kircher and The Argentine National penitentiary service, takes inmates out of jail without judicial permission, to attend and participate in political events of Kirchner. The prisoners are paid an “allowance” of $2700 per month for joining this political group. The creation of this Vatayon militante group which are CONVICTED AND INCARCERATED for everything from murderer to armed robbery is becoming the Kirchner government's militant force of the future. If things get rough for Cristina, these prisoners have nothing to lose for defending the Kirchner movement with violence. They also have access to guns and drugs, and prostitues all courtesy of the Kirchner government. The prisoners who are chosen attend these events, is left up to the to the head of the Argentine National Penitentiary Service, Victor Hortel who is a very close ally of Cristina's government He is a former prisoner himself and has very close ties with prison gangs, and has been known to release prisoners at night to go out to steal and even kill, in exchange for drugs, sex and money. Rewarding criminals and prisoners for political purposes, violating all sorts of rules and laws, is proof of the form of government that Argentina is living with and will only get worse in the months and years ahead, especially if Cristina moved forward with her proposal to change the Argentine constitution to allow for her re-re-election for an unlimited amount of presidential terms.
35 Simon68 (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 04:52 pm Report abuse
32 Chicureo (#)
Oct 12th, 2012 - 04:08 pm

Sadly our unpresentable excuse for a president has brought this very sad humiliation on us, and seriously I hope the two twits who have been sent to Ghana don't do anything stupid like offering bribes, etc. What they should do is pay up and be done with it, this b*itch has no right to bring our country down to this level!!!!!!!!!!
36 Terence Hill (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 05:03 pm Report abuse
26 Pirat-Hunter #6 Get lost, lying, thieving treaty breakers.
37 Pirat-Hunter (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 06:29 pm Report abuse
#27 fire wood is right, letting ghana keep this outdated ship to cancel out 20.000.000 million in debt will be a fantastic move from this Argentine politicians. Paying million dollars will be political suicide for this guys. If not
#28 with any luck, I really do hope this politicians abandon the ship where she sits. And bring back a$ recipt.
#29 sure as long as 20.000.000 us$ get cknocked off Argentine tax payers bill we support 100% the abandoning of the expensive fire wood in ghana, they will have to pay us back for. I will settle for taking their embassy building tomorrow as british did with Libyan ambassy in UK.
#30 now you know why we don't accept british or Chilean illegal aliens in Argentina. I wish there was open season on illegal aliens as the one USA has on Mexicans.
#31 pride lol as a matter of fact I am happy this is going on, I will like Libertad to become a memoir of Argentine and ghana's history book. It will be a good argument to keep our food at home when this british colony of slaves become hungry.
#33 like the ship?? Keep it we have no need for outdated war ships, I think Argentine's should rather spend the 20.000.000 $ in a nuclear defense program for Argentina then buying back this outdated ship 10.000.000$ ship. Maybe we can take montsanto in exchange for their tax evasion.
#34 I like your name cretina it's perfect for you.
We are here also looking for the WMD we found them in USA and UK as well as Israel and France but USA and EU are only interested in killing innocent Muslim women and Children. is Argentina murdering poor bankers friends of yours?? Lol
O I forgot that you cheer for killing innocent Muslim women and children while you suffer for poor bankers.
38 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 06:39 pm Report abuse
ph......I agree....I really want to see rgland take Monsanto, an American company. asslips however knows, Spain we are not! You are really a sad and argry little boy, like arifu/ttt, you need to go back to your momma's tit. SHe took you off too soon.

Simon, sadly I suspect that they will attempt to either bribe them, or they are just paying the bond and port fees and will scamper home.
39 Chicureo (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 07:40 pm Report abuse
Meanwhile in Accra, Ghana  Quote:
The three-masted training vessel Libertad with hundreds of navy cadets from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Peru remains in port. Chile’s government said Thursday it was keeping in contact with the Argentine navy and their cadets’ families as the situation developed.
Luis Suarez, a cadet working in the ship’s galley, told an Argentine radio station that they access to Internet and phones and can communicate with their families back home. He said that there is food aboard the ship and the crew rode buses into town to buy things, but that their movements are restricted.
NML now plans to seek an auction of the ship, which it hopes will pressure Argentina to post a bond in Ghana reflecting the vessel’s value. At that point, the ship and its crew would be able to leave port, Argentina would forfeit the bond, and NML would collect the money.

Argentina has responded:

‘“Argentina will exhaust all judicial possibilities in Ghana and in international courts in defense of its sovereignty, against the vulture funds and those who try to impose a global system in which people’s lives are subjected to the speculation of capital”

Robert Raben, director of the American Task Force Argentina, a Washington lobbying group representing bondholders, said the people of Ghana will benefit from Thursday’s ruling.

‘‘As a country upholds the rule of law, investment increases and the economy grows. This is precisely the opposite direction that Argentina has gone — repudiating debt that it has the ability to pay,’’ Raben’s statement said. ‘‘As a result of these policies, investment into Argentina has evaporated, and it has become isolated from the international community.’’

YES! That's the point! Frankly, 20m to make this disappear seems economical.
40 yankeeboy (#) Oct 12th, 2012 - 09:26 pm Report abuse
Any rational leader would pay the U$20MM and get this daily embarrassment over with once and for all.

CFK is truly something! She amazes me everyday and not in a good way.
41 Don Alberto (#) Oct 13th, 2012 - 12:34 am Report abuse
Professor Carlos Escudé from the 'Argentine National Council of Scientific Research' warned several years ago that the campaign to take the Falkland Islands would end up costing Argentina more than she could possibly gain.

Ignoring his advice, the present totally erratic Argentine government has brought this embarassment on themselves.

If the Argentine government reacted rationally instead of - as usual - emotionally, they would bail the ship out ASAP to end the embarassment.
42 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 13th, 2012 - 03:31 am Report abuse
Argentina acts irrational because it has an irrational president. Argentina has no true democratic institutions such as the presidency. They have a president, but no institution of the presidency. There are not checks and balances, no controls, no one to be responsible to for the president, therefore they can act as wild and irrational and emotional as cfk does without concerns of repercussions.
43 British_Kirchnerist (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 11:34 pm Report abuse
Shame on Ghana, the likes of Singer have destroyed Africa so to coddle him is against their own interests as well as immoral. Then again Ghana has in its history both been very good (Nkrumah and the early Rawlings) and awful (the coup government of 1966 that apologised to Ian Smith's Rhodesia for Nkrumah's opposition to its outlaw apartheid regime)

#30 “Being now an inactive officer in the Chilean Navy”

Scary that someone with views such as those you have expressed could have been an officer, but then this was Pinochet's Chile. Torture anyone did you?

#40 She amazes me with her eloquence, brilliant politics, and beauty =)

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