Argentina: Bankruptcy by Ballot

One grey morning in Buenos Aires last week a milling throng of 3,000 massed in front of the River Plate Club. Shuffling and shivering in the cold of the South American winter, they waited neither for soccer nor for revolution, but for a court of law to convene. No ordinary courtroom could have held all the clamoring creditors of Alberto Abraham Natin, 55, a dapper, moonfaced real-estate wheeler-dealer who was charged with fraud and faced with bankruptcy. Before the crowd, seated at a stand draped in dark red felt, was a stern-faced federal judge. After months of delays and...

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