Odyssey demands WikiLeaks answers

Was treasure hunting firm sold out by the US government?

Author: Pat
31st January 2012
 

Underwater salvage firm Odyssey Marine Exploration has responded to cables revealed by WikiLeaks in which it was named.

Odyssey Explorer, the Floridian company’s dedicated salvage vessel, was impounded by the Spanish back in 2007.

Spain had claimed a treasure ship – believed to be HMS Sussex – located by Odyssey was in Spanish waters.

The salvage firm would only say it was ‘in the Atlantic.’ Now the newly leaked US Embassy cables suggest that the U.S. Government had secretly provided confidential documentation on Odyssey to Spain.

Some of the released cables suggest that the State Department offered special assistance in the earlier ‘Black Swan’ case to Spanish officials.

The as yet unidentified ‘Black Swan’ wreck is actually believed to be the Merchant Royal, which sank laden with treasure in 1641.

In return for help, a US diplomat was pushing to acquire a French painting confiscated by the Nazis during World War II and now controlled by Spain.

Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO, said: “We are obviously concerned about these implications regarding the ‘Black Swan’ case.

“The possibility that someone in the U.S. Government came up with this perfidious offer to sacrifice Odyssey, its thousands of shareholders, and the many jobs created by the company in exchange for the return of one painting to one individual is hard to believe.

“The WikiLeaks cables clearly show that we have worked cooperatively and transparently with both Spain and the State Department for many years, in spite of claims to the contrary.”

Odyssey says that additional cables prove the company always cooperated with the Spanish Government and that permits were granted for work on the HMS Sussex project.

In May 2007, the ‘Black Swan’ site yielded over 500,000 silver coins weighing more than 17 tons, hundreds of gold coins, worked gold, and other artefacts.

 
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