Argentina threatened with contempt order by US judge

Carmen Corrales, attorney for Argentina, arrives at the US Federal Courthouse on Aug 8, 2014 in New York for a hearing into the Argentinian debt. Argentina's economy ministry once again defiantly asserted the country has made a required debt pay
Carmen Corrales, attorney for Argentina, arrives at the US Federal Courthouse on Aug 8, 2014 in New York for a hearing into the Argentinian debt. Argentina's economy ministry once again defiantly asserted the country has made a required debt payment on restructured sovereign bonds on Friday, Aug 8, 2014, night, just hours after a US judge threatened a contempt-of-court order if Argentina did not stop issuing such statements. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK/BUENOS AIRES (REUTERS) - Argentina's economy ministry once again defiantly asserted the country has made a required debt payment on restructured sovereign bonds on Friday night, just hours after a US judge threatened a contempt-of-court order if Argentina did not stop issuing such statements.

US District Judge Thomas Griesa, who has overseen the nation's long-running debt battle with hedge funds, railed at Argentina's lawyers at a hearing in New York a day after the publication of another so-called legal notice insisting the government has met its payment requirements and was therefore not in default.

Holding a newspaper copy of the notice, Griesa said if the false statements did not stop, a contempt of court order will become necessary.

Later on Friday, however, Argentina's economy ministry issued a statement accusing Griesa of "clear partiality in favor of the vulture funds."

"Judge Griesa continues contradicting himself and the facts by saying that Argentina did not pay," the statement said.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said the United States would not permit the International Justice Court in The Hague to hear Argentina's claims that US court decisions had violated its sovereignty.

"We do not view the ICJ as an appropriate venue for addressing Argentina's debt issues, and we continue to urge Argentina to engage with its creditors to resolve remaining issues with bondholders," the spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

Argentina petitioned the International Court of Justice on Thursday, but the lawsuit could only move forward if the United States submitted voluntarily to the court's jurisdiction.