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NEW YORK: Argentina – financial crisismay have to pay up to $16 billion in damages to shareholders over the 2012 nationalization of oil company YPF, according to a decision handed down Friday by the American justice system, which Buenos Aires will appeal.

YPF, a former subsidiary of Spanish group Repsol, was largely nationalized in 2012. Cristina Kirchner’s presidency in May raised the question of the safety of financial investments in South America’s third-largest economy.

In 2014, after months of conflict, Repsol reached an agreement with Buenos Aires that “guaranteed” five billion dollars in financial compensation.

However, this widespread case against the Argentine state and YPF in 2015 The case was filed in US federal justice in New York by Burford Capital, a firm that specializes in third-party acquisition disputes and represents shareholders of the oil company Petersen Energia Inversora. and Eton Park Capital Management.

According to an order issued Friday by Manhattan federal judge Loretta Preska, the plaintiffs sought compensatory interest of up to 8% in addition to $8.43 billion. USD compensation for the nationalization of YPF.

16 billion dollars

According to the financial press, this would amount to approximately $16 billion (including $7.62 billion in interest) that Argentina would have to pay minority shareholders as compensation.

The American judge also set the exact date – the spring of 2012 – from which the interest must begin to be calculated.

“The Court finds that an interest rate of 8% is appropriate and that it should apply from 2012 onwards.” on May 3, when the Argentine Parliament voted in favor of the YPF nationalization law, instead of the 2012 on April 16, when Argentina announced it. takeover and “thereafter indirectly controlled the requisite number of Repsol shares”.

“The Argentine government will immediately appeal” this court decision, which could take months or even years, and “President Alberto Fernández, who is currently attending the G20 summit in India, has already discussed the situation with Argentina’s treasury prosecutor. its spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti via X (formerly Twitter).

“We will continue to defend energy sovereignty and our joint stock company YPF against vulture funds,” she wrote, referring to the plaintiffs.

Argentina, which is sinking into a financial and economic crisis and having just received new IMF support, had agreed to repay 4.9 billion dollar damages, but without interest.

Hubert Gildon

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