Friday 24 November 2017

Hedge funds query court's Anglo ruling

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

LEGAL legal

Two Cayman Island hedge funds have appealed a US court ruling that granted immunity to Anglo Irish Bank in a row over a $200m (€155m) subordinated bond.

The bank -- which is now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) -- was granted immunity by a New York District Court judge in November because the institution is a sovereign entity.

Hedge funds Fir Tree Capital Opportunity Master Fund and Fir Tree Value Master Fund had sought to prevent Anglo from moving assets out of the US. They also wanted their debts honoured.

The hedge funds acquired the $200m of bonds -- which had been originally issued in 2005 -- in November 2010.

The court had to closely examine the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act on foot of an application by Fir Tree for a preliminary injunction.

Fir Tree argued that sovereign immunity had been waived under the so-called 1950 Friendship Treaty between Ireland and the United States.

The court said that Fir Tree had no right to action under that treaty as the hedge funds were based in the Cayman Islands.

The court ultimately found that it lacked the jurisdiction because of the immunity of Anglo and dismissed the case. The judge said that Anglo's sale of a $9bn (€6.95bn) loan book hadn't constituted a breach of the terms of the bond agreement.

But Fir Tree has now appealed the ruling. It has until February 2 to lodge a brief with the court, while IBRC has 35 days after that to file its brief.

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