Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Argentina: Italian government urged to press Kirchner to address unpaid debts to thousands of Italian pensioners

Source: American Task Force Argentina

American Task Force Argentina (ATFA) co-chair Dr. Robert Shapiro sent letters to Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, Foreign Affairs Minister Franco Frattini and Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi encouraging them to urge President Cristina Kirchner to address Argentina's long-unpaid debts to thousands of Italian pensioners.

"President Kirchner is visiting Rome for Italy's Republic Day, while her Government continues to withhold payments on long-overdue debts to Italian pensioners. With $16 billion in outstanding debt to private creditors worldwide, including $3.5 billion to U.S. creditors, President Kirchner can only improve bilateral relations by finally resolving the repayment of her country's debt obligations," said ATFA co-chair Dr. Robert Shapiro. "As President Kirchner commemorates Italy's Republic Day, Italian and American bondholders continue to go without repayment. With $52 billion in Argentine Central Bank reserves, Argentina's government must assume responsibility for its debts and repay its creditors once and for all."

"Today, Argentina has similarly demonstrated a lack of strict commitment to the rule of law in other areas of finance. Argentina currently is in violation of 47 of the 49 criteria of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The Italian Government can help enforce accountability on Argentina for its inadequate treatment of money laundering. Italian Finance Ministry official Giuseppe Maresca co-chairs the FATF's International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). It is in the vital interest of Italy and the world that Argentina be held accountable to the global standards of both controlling money laundering and facilitating international lending."

Shapiro's letter insists that the Italian government not let President Kirchner's visit to celebrate the Italian Republic go along without addressing the billions of dollars owed to the Italian people. Shapiro joins a chorus of Italian Members of Parliament including MP Sandro Gozi who sent letters to President Cristina Kirchner expressing their dissent.

"The Argentine government owes over $2 billion to tens of thousands Italian pensioners and small investors. As President Kirchner visits Rome next week, we urge her to resolve Argentina's international debts – ending Argentina's tortured history of slighting foreign investors and violating the law," said MP Sandro Gozi. "Italian investors in Argentina would welcome these steps in the right direction and consider repayment a sign of good faith during President Kirchner's visit to Rome."