Monday, September 01, 2008

Spanish police suspect hidden treasure in Gibraltar

The Guardia Civil suspects that Odyssey is hiding objects found in Gibraltar

The Civil Guard believes that the North American underwater exploration company Odyssey could be hiding treasure found in international waters in a boat based in Gilbraltar. More specifically it believes that Odyssey could be in possession of part of a treasure consisting of 500,000 gold and silver coins discovered in 2007 which the Spanish authorities have claimed as its property.

Investigators believe that the archaeological objects found at the bottom of the ocean could contain items from the treasure that Odyssey discovered in 2007 and according to Spanish sources belong to the ship Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, which sank in 1804. The ship which was part of the Spanish Armada sank following a sea battle with the English fleet off the Portuguese coast near the Algarve.

Nevertheless, other sources do not rule out that the archaeological finds could belong to another ship. However, the courts in La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz) are currently investigating what the archaeological objects that Odyssey have found are and could inspect them if they receive permission from the authorities in Gibraltar. This would mean that they could finally be identified.

The dispute between the North American company Odyssey and the Spanish government has been on going since the company, based in Florida, announced that it had found treasure from the medieval period valued at 373 million euros on 18th May 2007 and transported several containers back to its headquarters in the US.

The Spanish Ministry of Culture then alerted the Civil Guard which opened an investigation into two boats belonging to Odyssey - the 'Odyssey Explorer' and the 'Ocean Alert' - both of which are based in Gibraltar.

The Spanish authorities have until the 22nd September to present their case to the US authorities. They will need to provide proof and the relevant documentation that 'Nuestra Señora de La Mercedes' was owned by the state and formed part of the Spanish Armada. Following this the North American company has 60 days to make its case against these claims.

Silver and golden shields and coins are believed to be just some of the objects that the treasure in question contained. They all belong to the period of Carlos IV are were made in Lima which could also give rise to claims of ownership from Peru.
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posted by Euroresidentes at 9:48 AM



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