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24 March 2017 12:11 (South Africa)

Caribbean-based funds sue Liberians for 30-year-old debt

Two Caribbean-registered investment funds are suing Liberia in a London court for more than $20 million over debt that dates back to the 1970s. Described as "vulture funds" (private equity or hedge funds that invest in debt issued by very weak or dying entities), the amount is about 5% of the country’s annual budget. Details of the case are not clear, but it is believed that Liberia borrowed $6.5 million from US-based Chemical Bank in 1978, and that debt may have been resold a number of times. Liberia says it has no money to repay the debt after a 14-year civil war ended in 2003. In 2002 a New York court ruled that Liberia owed $18 million. The current amount is an attempt to collect that sum plus interest. Read more: BBC, The Guardian

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