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Judge seeks to force Argentina's hand on debt

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NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge in New York has set a complicated financial mechanism into motion that he hopes will force the government of Argentina to begin paying $1.33 billion in defaulted bonds.

Argentina has been in a decade-long legal dispute with a group of investors holding bonds dating back to the country's historic $95 billion default on its national debt in 2002.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa tried to push the case closer to resolution Wednesday by issuing an order directing financial institutions handling Argentina's payments to other debt-holders to make a first round of payments into an escrow account on Dec. 15.

He says he is taking the action because of "inflammatory declarations" made by Argentine officials, who have vowed not to pay a cent.

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