Argentina nationalized the oil giant YPF in 2012

New York (AFP) - A US judge on Friday ordered Argentina to pay nearly $16.1 billion to two companies that were not compensated as minority shareholders for the 2012 nationalization of the YPF oil giant.

In a ruling that expanded on a prior judgment in favor of Petersen Energia and Eton Park Capital, federal judge Loretta Preska set the amounts that Argentina must pay the two firms in compensation.

Preska ordered the South American nation to pay $7.5 billion in damages and $6.85 billion in interest to Petersen Energia.

She also ordered Argentina to pay about $1.7 billion, between damages and interest, to Eton Park Capital.

The case dates back to Argentina’s 2012 expropriation of 51 percent of the shares of leading energy company YPF, which was partially controlled by Spanish giant Repsol.

Argentina, which is mired in economic and political crisis with runaway annual inflation of over 120 percent, said on August 9 that it would appeal the ruling. It has 30 days to do so.

In the judgment, Preska also ruled that all other claims by the plaintiffs “are dismissed and that all of plaintiffs’s claims against defendant YPF SA are dismissed.”

The expropriation case was brought in US courts because YPF shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

In her August 9 ruling, the judge said she had accepted the arguments of the plaintiffs, including the law firm Burford Capital, which had purchased the litigation rights for US$16.6 million.

Two years after Argentina’s nationalization of YPF, Repsol, the Spanish giant, was compensated with $5 billion to settle litigation.

Not so other minority shareholders such as the Petersen Group or Eton Park Capital – which together held 25.4 percent of YPF’s capital – and in 2015, they filed a lawsuit, alleging that the country had not submitted a takeover bid as provided by law.