NML fails at attempt to seize assets
NML Capital, a unit of billionaire Paul Singer’s “vulture fund” Elliott Management, lost a new battle in its efforts to seize Argentine assets abroad as a United States judge ruled in favour of Argentina regarding the country’s rights under a contract for satellite launches with a private US firm.
The holdout fund had filed a lawsuit in March 2014 over Argentina’s rights as part of a contract with Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX, a private space firm that designs and launches rockets and spacecraft. The company had unveiled in 2009 an agreement with Argentina’s National Commission on Space Activity (CONAE) for at least two satellite launches to study the global environment, expected for 2015 and 2016.
NML claimed that the launch service rights were used for commercial activity because they were acquired in a commercial transaction and that SpaceX maintains an open launch slot as a result. Nevertheless, the accusation was dismissed by Judge Stephen Wilson of California, the district from which the satellites will be launched.
“There are no allegations that the launch service rights are being used for commercial activity at the time the writ of attachment or execution would be issued. And since the property is immune from attachment and execution, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” Wilson said. “The court grants defendants motion to dismiss the complaint.”
In his ruling, Wilson concluded that CONAE resembles a government entity and its core functions are governmental and not commercial, thus not affected by NML’s discovery attempts. The US judge said the agency’s focus is “directed toward governmental objectives and not commercial ones” and that there’s “nothing commercial about CONAE’s space programme.”
Buenos Aires Herald staff
Δημητρης Καμμενος, Βουλευτης Β’ Πειραια, Αν. Ελλ.