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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance


Sovereign pari passu clauses: lost rights or last rites?

13 February 2017

In late 2012, the New York courts decided that a pari passu clause in a sovereign bond prevented the sovereign from paying other creditors without paying the bondholders at the same time. This caused concern in some quarters, not least because of the power it offered holdout creditors in sovereign debt restructurings. Four years later, the position may have changed. A New York court has now held that the same sovereign's payments to other creditors do not breach the same pari passu clause. Instead, more egregious behaviour - in substance, subordinating the bonds - is, it seems, required.

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