This is disgusting. I have to say I was completely unaware of this phenomenon.
On Thursday 15 February a high court judge in London will rule whether so-called vulture fund can extract more than $40m from Zambia for a debt which it bought for less than $4m.
There are concerns that such funds are wiping out the benefits which international debt relief was supposed to bring to poor countries.
Martin Kalunga-Banda, Zambian presidential adviser and a consultant to Oxfam told Newsnight, "That $40m is equal to the value of all the debt relief we received last year."
Vulture funds - as defined by the International Monetary Fund and Gordon Brown amongst others - are companies which buy up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and then sue for the full value of the debt plus interest - which might be ten times what they paid for it.
Caroline Pearce from the Jubilee Debt campaign told Newsnight it makes a mockery of all the work done by governments to write off the debts of the poorest.
"Profiteering doesn't get any more cynical than this. Zambia has been planning to spend the money released from debt cancellation on much-needed nurses, teachers and infrastructure: this is what debt cancellation is intended for not to line the pockets of businessmen based in rich countries."
As it turns out, Zambia lost the vulture funds case.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now had an excellent interview with Greg Palast on vulture funds today, which initially drew my attention to the issue.