Argentine bank notes pictured on December 7, 2011 in Buenos Aires.
Argentine bank notes pictured on December 7, 2011 in Buenos Aires. - 

Argentina is probably not feeling very thankful this morning. It's still digesting a U.S. court ruling involving a decade-long debt fight.

A judge says American hedge funds that bought Argentine debt must be repaid, to the tune of $1.3 billion. Argentina has so far refused.

The issue dates back to 2001, when the government of Argentina defaulted on its debt. At the time, it negotiated a deal with its creditors to pay them back 30 cents on the dollar. Most creditors agreed to the plan -- other than a few large U.S. hedge funds.

Over the years, these hedge funds have continued to demand everything they think they are owed. Buenos Aires has continued to refuse, calling them "capitalist vultures."

The case has gone through a number of courts. A judge ruled last Wednesday that the Argentinian government does have to pay and threatened to force the U.S. bank intermediaries to comply.

The deadline to pay up is set for December 15th, under the ruling. But the story isn't over yet -- the case could go up the ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The stated position is not paying at all," said Daniel Marks, Argentina's former undersecretary of finance. "I think there is a middle ground that is well-known and accepted bankruptcy rules around the world."

That middle ground, as he puts it, would have U.S. hedge fund lenders take the 30 cents on the dollars everyone else did.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Scott Tong at @tongscott