Why Russia and Ukraine are litigating in court over odious debt : The Indicator from Planet Money A dispute going back to 2013 involving Russia and Ukraine and $3 billion in bonds has revived a discussion about a legal concept called odious debt. What is it and how does the current conflict complicate the case?

The curious case of odious debt

The curious case of odious debt

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Dietmar Rabich/Dietmar Rabich/Self-photographed
The Supreme Court, London, England, United Kingdom.
Dietmar Rabich/Dietmar Rabich/Self-photographed

Russian legal scholar Alexander Sack is credited with coining the term "odious debt." He argued that the debt of a tyrannical government should not be transferred to the people and government that succeeds it. This concept has become central to a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over $3 billion that Ukraine borrowed from Russia in 2013.

Today, we learn about the history of "odious debt" and why it's been a struggle for courts to recognize it in the law.

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