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Vultures in pursuit of £1bn threaten debt-relief deal

Legal action worth almost £1bn by "vulture funds Vulture Fund

A fund that buys securities in distressed investments, such as high-yield bonds in or near default, or equities that are in or near bankruptcy.

" against some of the world's poorest countries poses a threat to the debt cancellation deal agreed by the G8 at Gleneagles in 2005, the International Monetary Fund warned at the weekend.


See: International Monetary Fund


See International Monetary Fund (IMF).
 said it was concerned that private creditors were buying debt owed by highly indebted in·debt·ed  
Morally, socially, or legally obligated to another; beholden.

[Middle English endetted, from Old French endette, past participle of endetter, to oblige
 poor countries (HIPCs) at cheap rates and then suing them for a profit. It said the litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.

When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation.
 presented a "major challenge to the implementation" of the Gleneagles debt-relief deal, which offered full cancellation of money owed to multilateral institutions including the IMF and the World Bank.

Campaigners against vulture funds said the IMF's statement did not go far enough. Sarah Williams Sarah Williams (1837 – 1868) was an American poet, the author of "The Old Astronomer to His Pupil".

A segment of her poem is used in the introduction to Ian Rankin's novel Set in Darkness.
, of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: "Countries need rapid, affordable access to legal advice and assistance, and there need to be changes in law, at national and international level, to stop the vultures from acting."

A report on vulture funds by IMF staff showed that 11 out of 24 poor countries approached said they were involved in litigation worth a total of $1.8bn (£900m) with 46 creditors. Ms Williams said: "The problem is only going to continue to grow unless urgent action is taken."

The issue gained prominence this year when an offshore investment fund, Donegal International, won its case against Zambia. Having bought a debt for $3m, Donegal sued Zambia for $55m and was awarded $15.5m in a UK court.

Alistair Darling said in a statement to the IMF that all creditors "public and private" needed to provide their share. Britain wants commercial creditors to give debt relief on the same terms as governments or international organisations Noun 1. international organisation - an international alliance involving many different countries
global organization, international organization, world organisation, world organization
, the World Bank to buy up debt before it falls into the hands of vulture funds and developed nations to give poor countries help with their legal costs.

Aid agencies said vulture funds highlighted problems in the debt-relief initiative, which they said was too slow, hedged with conditions and failed to provide help for countries in need.

Despite pressure from the UK, the IMF failed to come up with a package that would allow Liberia to pay off its arrears and join the HIPC HiPC High Performance Computing
HIPC Highly Indebted Poor Countries
HIPC Heavily Indebted Poor Country (World Bank initiative)
HIPC Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperative
HIPC Hosted IP Centrex
 process. Liberia is seen as a test case for countries emerging from conflict but, despite pledges from the G8 and other developed nations, a funding gap of $109m prevented progress at the weekend's meetings.

UK sources said they hoped to get a deal agreed within a month but Elizabeth Stuart, senior policy adviser for Oxfam, said: "Liberia should not have to wait another day for full debt cancellation. It is a scandal that the donors have not delivered." She added that $109m was "pocket change for the US Treasury and less than eight hours' spending on the Iraq war Iraq War: see under Persian Gulf Wars.
Iraq War
 or Second Persian Gulf War

Brief conflict in 2003 between Iraq and a combined force of troops largely from the U.S. and Great Britain; and a subsequent U.S.
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Date:Oct 22, 2007
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