Russia’s Century-Old Sunken Treasure Ship Found off S. Korean Coast

Shinil Group say they found the Dmitrii Donskoi off the coast of Ulleungdo island east of South Korea

The company said the ship held 150 trillion won ($130 billion) in gold and it would provide evidence next week to support its claims.

The company that found the warship, the Seoul-based, newly established Shinil Group, have released video and imagery taken by their search submarines, which appear to show a wreck with a Russian insignia.

In response to queries, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that Shinil Group is neither regulated nor licensed by it, and advised consumers to deal only with entities regulated by MAS.

Shinil Group said half of the gold would be returned to the Russian government, while 10 percent of the remaining half would be used for tourism projects on the island.

The shares continued their steep rise morning before Jeil clarified that it has "no relation to the treasure ship business", causing prices to drop more than 20 per cent.

The unlisted Shinil was founded on June 1 and its president recently agreed to acquire shares in local company Jeil Steel.

Another South Korean treasure hunting operation, the Shinil Group hired well-known deep sea technology company Nuytco Research Ltd. of Vancouver.

The company claiming to have found the buried treasure is reported to have been established about 50 days ago.

Therefore, investors were warned by South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service that there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered surrounding these claims.

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A company called Dojin Sireop attempted to lift the vessel in 1981, while Dong Ah Construction Industrial Company also failed to recover a ship they claimed to be the Donskoi in 1998.

But no proof exists that the ship carried gold, with academics raising doubts that a warship would carry such valuable cargo.

Shinil hoped to raise the wreck in October or November.

"We'll soon go ahead with procedures to rescue the ship", the salvage company said.

Shinil disagreed on the amount of its possible deposit, saying what it has officially located was the shipwreck, not treasures on it.

Some experts also said it is unlikely that the Donskoi - a thickly armoured warship with more than 12 artillery pieces, 500 sailors and presumably 1,600 tons of coal - would have had room for 200 tons of gold, which would be double the current gold reserves at South Korea's central bank.

But Russia could argue that it retains full ownership - a claim that would be justified under worldwide law as long as it did not infringe upon South Korea's sovereignty.

But now there is a fight to claim the ship's treasure, with both the Russians and the Korean divers claiming ownership of the haul.

And with the shipwreck located about one mile off a South Korean island, that's likely to be the case.

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