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Philippines’ Foreign Debt Payments Dwarf Relief Aid After Typhoon Haiyan December 20th, 2013
More than a month after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, the country has paid approximately $900 million in debt repayments—more than twice as much as it’s received in pledged aid from countries around the world to support the recovery effort. The Philippines government will spend a total of $6.7 billion on debt repayments this year alone, some of which originates from the corrupt and abusive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, who was responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Filipinos and the torture of 35,000.
Jubilee USA is calling for a major shift in debt policy vis a vis the Philippines. “The World Bank and international lenders have yet to cancel the debts that fueled Marcos regime corruption. While Filipinos were tortured and lived in poverty, we watched Marcos’s wife accumulating one of the world’s largest shoe collections,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “If these debts were cancelled they could rebuild the Philippines and safeguard the country from the impacts of climate change.”
The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan is now at more than 6,000 people, while nearly 2,000 people remain unaccounted for. Meanwhile, more than 4 million people have been displaced. ”The World Bank and other international lenders must be subject to an independent debt audit,” said LeCompte. “It’s also critical that lenders offer unconditional grants to the Philippines rather than loans that will further drive the country into poverty.”
Predatory Hedge Funds and Argentina Face Supreme Court Showdown December 17th, 2013
Majority Debt Holders Seek to End Standoff between Argentina and Holdouts
Argentina is expected to appeal to the US Supreme Court by mid-February in response to a US 2nd Circuit Court ruling ordering the country to pay $1.33 billion to predatory hedge funds. The precedent the case sets will hurt poor countries in financial distress and could allow a small group of hedge funds to target assets that benefit vulnerable populations. At the same time, debt holders who restructured their debt with Argentina have hired lawyers to help negotiate the dispute between holdout hedge funds and Argentina. Nearly 93% of debt holders restructured their debt with Argentina after the 2001 default. The majority of bondholders are concerned that their settlements could be disrupted if hedge funds win the final ruling.
“We agree with the concerns of the restructured bondholders,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, a faith-based antipoverty organization. “We join the IMF, World Bank and White House in denouncing this extreme hedge fund behavior that takes advantage of the world’s poorest people.”
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US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Vulture Funds Case October 8th, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take the landmark debt case between Argentina and bondholders led by NML Capital, a hedge fund that buys the debt of countries in financial crisis. Argentina is expected to file a second petition in the coming months that the Supreme Court will review and decide again if it will hear the case. In June, Argentina filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to overturn a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made last October. The ruling ordered Argentina to pay bondholders $1.33 billion based on the court’s interpretation of a pari passu, or parity clause.
“The faith community is saddened by the high court’s decision,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, a religious antipoverty organization. “Given the likelihood of Argentina filing again to the U.S. Supreme Court on this global poverty case, we’re praying upon another review the U.S. Supreme Court will take it.”
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Hedge Funds Win/Global Poor Lose August 23rd, 2013Argentine Bonds Surge. Ruling Delayed as U.S. Supreme Court Considers Taking Appeal
WASHINGTON, DC – In the landmark case of NML Capital, LTD v. The Republic of Argentina, the New York based U.S. Circuit Court upheld a previous ruling ordering Argentina to pay $1.33 billion to hold out hedge funds. Argentine bonds soared and antipoverty advocates held their breath as the 2nd Circuit Court delayed the ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides if they will take appeals on the case.
“Our eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court. We pray the court will not forget the world’s poor as they consider taking the case,” asserted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious antipoverty campaign known as Jubilee USA.
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Obama Administration Says No to Vulture Funds July 7th, 2013
Last week, Jubilee’s Executive Committee wrote President Obama to thank him and his Administration for their efforts to stop vulture funds that profit from exploiting poor people. The Reverend Séamus Finn, OMI, a Jubilee USA Board Executive Officer, signed on to the letter, representing the Oblates. The Justice Department filed an Amicus or friend-of-the-court brief in the current legal proceedings of hedge fund NML Capital versus Argentina. The outcome of this vulture fund case will have far reaching impacts on global poverty.
Read the letter to President Obama and join Jubilee USA in thanking the President: sign the thank-you petition to President Obama. Judges in the US 2nd Circuit Court will soon announce a ruling. Days ago, Argentina filed a preemptive appeal to the US Supreme Court to reverse the ruling to pay the vulture funds.
Jubilee USA’s views on this case have been covered extensively in the mainstream media. To fully understand the case and its repercussions on global poverty, read the story that featured Jubilee USA in the Los Angeles Times. Recently in The Financial Times, Jubilee USA called these rich hedge funds what they are, “morally bankrupt.”
We hope you will join us in thanking President Obama for standing up to vulture funds. Please visit the Jubilee USA website for more information on this important issue. Read the letter (download PDF)…
This legislation addresses a systemic cause of poverty – the fact that many multinational corporations don’t pay taxes to the developing governments that need the revenue most. Between 2000 and 2008, 6.5 trillion dollars left the developing world completely untaxed. If this money had been taxed modestly, we wouldn’t be facing a global debt crisis and there would be better access to food in the poorest countries. A key way this legislation curbs tax dodging is by requiring country-by-country reporting of corporate payments to governments.
This is good legislation that also has positive impacts for us in the United States, curbs corruption globally and gives us the information we need to start addressing global corporate tax avoidance.
Photo: The building is a well-known tax haven called the Ugland House in the Cayman Islands that houses 18,857 registered businesses.
Thanks to Jubilee USA for the information in this Action Alert!