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I’m really not sure about this

A further tranche, on bonds that are predominantly US-held, is due next month. If that payment is rendered impossible, Moscow will enter a 30-day grace period, after which it would likely be deemed to have defaulted.

Legal eagles might want to comment. If you’re actively prevented from paying then are you actually in default?

Judge “Why didn’t you pay” “Because they wouldn’t let me”…..seems like a defence to me.

23 thoughts on “I’m really not sure about this”

  1. Perhaps there is something similar to this:
    “Amazingly the British Coinage Act (1971) states that 1p and 2p coins are only legal tender up to the value of 20 pence. However, you can use more coins if the person you’re paying is willing to accept them.

    From a legal perspective the meaning of ‘legal tender’ is that you can’t be sued for not paying a debt as long as you give the right amount of money in ‘legal tender’. That’s the long and short of it. For the most part it’s down to the person who pays coming to an agreement with seller.

    Have Rubbles been deemed to be ‘not legal tender’?

  2. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Was it A.P. Herbert who, incensed by the size of his tax bill, wrote his cheque on the side of a cow, then walked the beast down to the Tax Office?

  3. As an aside on the legal tender point, there are £100 coins that are legal tender. Look up Julian Chamberlain on YouTube for his attempts at paying a debt using the coins. A debt is one where you have the goods and then pay afterwards, such as at a petrol station or restaurant. Not when you have to pay before you receive the goods at a supermarket. Julian was arrested by a low IQ constable who insisted he was attempting to make off without paying. Julian won £5k from the police for the unlawful arrest.

  4. It was Herbert’s creation Albert Haddock who presented a cow cheque; the case is anthologised in Misleading Cases. In More Misleading Cases Haddock is back in court having presented a cheque written on an egg to the House of Commons.

    My boss, a former banker, was convinced the cow story was true until last week…

  5. Sadbutmad, he may indeed be right, but he is an annoying, smug ‘I know something you don’t know’ twat, of the type that fucks it up for the rest of us.

    Can’t he find something more productive to do with his life, rather than making a bloke who works on the till at a petrol station’s day worse?

  6. I sneeze in threes

    I take some small pleasure knowing Scottish bank notes aren’t legal tender even in Scotland.

  7. @Addolff, he might be annoying, but the point is how people who don’t know the something handle the situation. Some times they accept that they have learnt something, other times they act like know-alls. And how the police react is also key.

  8. The US’s genius plan to encourage Asia, Africa and Latin America to get out of American dominated financial systems and buddy up with the Chinese instead:

    the bulk of the owners are said to be based outside the US, meaning a settlement may still be possible unless European banks stop the transactions out of fear of US reprisals

    This seems particularly optimistical:

    Russia will lose almost all market access – even to the Chinese – because of this default,” said Mr Ash

    I don’t think Russia is going to roll over and say “guess I’ll go die then, lol” and I don’t think the Chinese are going to play along, especially after being openly threatened. Why would they?

    Otoh deliberately provoking sovereign debt defaults – of non-trivial countries chock full of desperately needed natural resources – when the global economy is already in deep shit and we’re staring down the barrel of some kind of Greater Depression sounds like a courageous decision.

    Are we sure this is about Freedom and Democracy in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast?

  9. @sbml

    At the time, they they don’t know if they’re learning something or being ripped off by a trick they’ll lose their job for if they fall for it…

  10. Well, it’s force majeure, init? Which according to Wikipedia is normally a valid reason for not meeting an obligation.

  11. An exemption allowing Russia to meet its obligations to international creditors will lapse today, just two days before Moscow is due to make a tranche of payments.
    The Office for Foreign Assets Control said it “will not renew” the provisions, which were brought in as part of the West’s financial salvo against Vladimir Putin in late February.”

    Are there rules in Bond markets that prevent you from paying early, even just two days early?

  12. Thanks to embargo and not-sanctions Russia is running a humungous current account surplus. The notion they CAN’T pay is for the birds.

  13. Chamberlain went in there looking for a fight and is no better than the wankers looking to harrass Christian bakers or waxing salons.

  14. I have not watched any Julian Chamberlain videos. I have watched a fair few “auditing” videos. Sometimes the auditors are annoying but the police response is bad, and the whole thing is somewhat worthwhile, but there are no good guys.

    Sometimes the auditor is being quite reasonable, or it’s a genuine police interaction where someone is pulled over or whatever and just happens to have a dashcam, and it’s clear the auditor is the good guy.

    Sometimes the auditor is an idiot and the police handle things well.

    Paying at a petrol station with weird “legal tender”. Not sure why the police would get involved at all. The petrol station have your registration number and can find out where you live. They can sue you for non-payment and that’s that.

  15. I think the point is they cannot sue you for non-payment if you offered payment in “legal tender” and it was refused. You tried to settle the debt, the settlement was legal tender, the settlement was refused. At this point the ability to pursue you for non-payment ceases. At least that what I understood from the very first response to this post.

  16. “A debt is one where you have the goods and then pay afterwards, such as at a petrol station or restaurant.”

    Not exactly. As I understand it, it’s not a debt until you leave the premises, and even then there’s probably a time threshold (I’d be willing to bet it used to be the quarterly Term Days; might still be). You’d have to get him to agree to extend credit first and then try to pay in your funny-but-allegedly-legal money.

    (My dad was a lawyer and used to explain this stuff at great length. Don’t take it as gospel, because most of it went straight out the other ear, but trust me: a simple purchase is not a debt.)

    “I take some small pleasure knowing Scottish bank notes aren’t legal tender even in Scotland.”

    At the moment, nothing is. As I recall from what my dad told me, in his day it was silver coins of the realm in payment of debts of more than £30 (and yes, he had a client who tried it), but rather than update that they just got rid of the whole thing.

  17. If US banks refuse to pass Russian money to bondholders, that’s still a default (except for any such banks who are also bondholders). If all reasonable routes of payment were blocked by third parties, that might be called force majeure, but the debt would still be owed and anyone thinking of buying future bonds might be very reluctant to do so, which could be as bad as default even if it was not labelled default.

    @Sam Duncan
    Legal tender still exists in England and Wales, with coins of £1 or more and English notes valid for any amount. See

  18. Every international finance contract I have ever seen specified government action preventing performance as force majeure, so unless there are specific rules governing bond performance, I can’t see how this is default.

  19. @I sneeze in threes

    I take some small pleasure knowing Scottish bank notes aren’t legal tender even in Scotland

    Why not be fully honest?

    “English banknotes aren’t legal tender in Scotland. Scottish notes aren’t legal tender in England or Scotland. Debit cards, cheques and contactless aren’t legal tender anywhere”

    Interesting NI mentioned, we accepted any £ Sterling notes & coins inc Gib, IoM etc

    Not convinced they’re accurate on Debit cards. I would assume same as credit cards where law is if a sign/symbol displayed, they Must be accepted.

  20. @Tim Worstall

    Agreement with you:

    The slow march to destroy the West continues and Russia the only country resisting

    Forcing Russia to ‘Default’ on its Debt Will Backfire as Only Western Investors Will be Affected
    What this action really does is it politicises the Western financial system. Already we are hearing a lot of talk about ‘geopolitical risk’ around capital markets. These days, investors must assess who might be on the naughty list before they deploy capital in each region
    Not only on the naughty list today, but on the naughty list in the near future. As an investor in this arrangement, you can get punished for investing in a country today that gets put on the naughty list tomorrow for something that happens in the future of which you have no awareness.

    You should publish some pieces on DS

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