Citibank lawyer warns judge Argentina branch will be in danger if he blocks bond payments

A Citibank lawyer has warned a judge its Argentina branch will be in "great danger" if he refuses to let the South American nation pay interest to bondholders.

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Attorney Karen Wagner described the threat to federal court Judge Thomas Griesa during arguments Tuesday in New York.

Wagner says bonds purchased by Citibank customers in Argentina are subject to Argentine law. She says they should not be subject to an order the judge issued banning Argentina from paying interest on bonds exchanged at a discount by 90 percent of bondholders after the republic defaulted on $100 billion in debt in 2001.

The judge says interest can't be paid unless Argentina pays U.S. hedge funds about $1.5 billion they're owed. The judge hasn't ruled.

Argentina has said it's being harassed by the hedge funds.