Trial in New York for the nationalization of YPF: the Eskenazi declaration is postponed

The attorneys for Petersen Energía – a firm created by the Eskenazi family – filed a brief with Judge Loretta Preska to avoid a statement that was scheduled to be made on January 7. They agreed to make a new presentation on January 29.

The magistrate, who is leading a trial by the Burford fund against the Argentine State for the expropriation of YPF, summoned the Eskenazi family to testify. She wants to establish her role in the lawsuit that Burford is carrying out against the Argentine State. Burford bought – in bankruptcy – the litigation rights of Petersen Energía, an Eskenazi firm.

The magistrate wants a statement from that family group – which YPF managed between 2008 and 2012, when it was nationalized – to establish what role they play in this trial. Burford admitted, in documentation she submitted, that she will collect 70% of the “award,” or whatever she gets from the trial. The other 30% will end up in other hands.

“Although there are other creditors before the Eskenazi in the event of a financial award, they (Petersen’s representatives) do not dispute that the Eskenazi will benefit financially from the compensation sought here,” reads a South court ruling of the New Court. York, less than a month ago.

The lawsuit, which can cost the country between US $ 2.5 billion and US $ 14 billion, originated in the expropriation of YPF in 2012. The state took 51% of the company. Petersen (of the Eskenazi family) was the second most important shareholder, after Spain’s Repsol. The Burford fund bought the rights to litigate Petersen in the bankruptcy of that firm, which was declared bankrupt in the Spanish courts.

Burford’s argument is that YPF did not follow the statute, which required it to make an offer to the rest of the shareholders.

Grupo Petersen says it did not receive any summons to testify in Argentina.

The position of the Argentine government and YPF is that the lawsuit must be settled in the Argentine courts and under local laws. Judge Preska accepts that the Eskenazi testify in Argentina.

At the end of 2020, Preska, denied an appeal to Petersen Energía, who wanted to avoid being called to testify. The magistrate confirmed her summons to the Eskenazi family to clarify her position in that litigation. They must present documentation or attend a hearing if requested.

The legal team of the Argentine Government and YPF have been working in this regard. In the last presentation before Preska, lawyers from Argentina also attracted attention. Two lawyers who work for the law firm that defends Argentina (Debevoisse) were part of courts that took cases related to YPF. The complainant funds asked not to participate in this trial and Preska listened to them.

Petersen’s lawyers asked that the Eskenazi not have to be part of the trial. According to them, they have no relationship with Burford, who is the one who litigates. They filed an appeal. But Judge Preska denied them a month ago and they must testify.

The Petersen group (Eskenazi family) say they have nothing to do with the trial, and that they are not part of it. “The Eskenazis have consulted with Burford about the litigation strategies in this case and met on multiple occasions with Burford representatives to do so,” Preska wrote, appearing to contradict the local group’s expression.

Judge Preska is in the process of gathering evidence to continue with this trial. The magistrate requires documents and testimonies from the Eskenazi, who had 25% of YPF before the expropriation.

According to the magistrate, the plaintiffs – the Burford fund and Petersen Energía – have access to the Eskenazi to request the information that the judge needs.

The Burford fund indicated, in the last presentation, that it has no relation to the Eskenazi. And Petersen Energía -originally created by the Eskenazi- wields that he disbanded. But the judge understands that they had a previous relationship, and that is why they must collaborate in presenting the information about the Eskenazi that Preska is requesting.

Burford has already done good business with YPF, according to its balance sheet. She invested US $ 20.2 million in the right to litigate Petersen (of the Eskenazi family) and has already sold 38.75% of what she will get for that lawsuit for US $ 236 million. He multiplied his profit by 10, and he still doesn’t have a final judgment.

Colin Adrian

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