13 Dec, 2010 @ 15:40
1 min read

Spain and USA swap treasures

THE SPANISH government has made a gentleman’s agreement with the USA to get back the treasure from the sunken ‘Black Swan’ ship.

According to a leaked diplomatic cable, USA authorities gave Spain the customs documents filled out by private American firm Odyssey, which recovered the treasure in May 2007.

Spanish officials needed the customs documents to show the courts that the treasure belongs to them.

In return, Spanish ambassador agreed to help a US citizen, Claude Cassirer, recover a painting which was looted by the Gestapo.

The painting by French painter Camille Pissarro is now in the Thyssen museum in Madrid.

The cable published on the Wikileaks website states: “The USA ambassador noted that while the Odyssey and Cassirer claim were on separate legal tracks, it was in both governments’ interest to… resolve both matters in a way that favoured the bilateral relationship.”

An Odyssey representative said in a statement: “The cables seem to indicate that someone in the USA State Department has literally offered to sacrifice Odyssey… in exchange for the return of one painting to one USA Citizen.”

A cable goes on to say that the U.S. Ambassador to Spain, Eduardo Aguirre met with Spanish Minister of Culture Cesar Antonio Molina in June 2008 to broker a deal.

Odyssey recovered over half a million silver coins and hundreds of gold objects from Peru on a ship they code-named the ‘Black Swan’.

Florida-based Odyssey claims the ship was on a commercial mission and was found in international waters, making it fair game for those found it.

Spain, however, contests that the ‘Black Swan’ is in fact the Mercedes galleon sunk by the British off Gibraltar in 1804.

A sunken military ship belongs to the nation whose colours it flew.

The legal case is widely expected to end up in the USA Supreme Court.

The sinking of the Mercedes led Spain to declare war on Britain and re-enter the Napoleonic Wars.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. Spain is and has always been obsessed over the territory of Gibraltar and what Gibraltar does and doesn’t do…..What Spain doesn’t get into their thick heads is that Gibraltar is and will remain British for ever, and they should just concentrate on their own mess in Spain……

  2. Watch TREASURE QUEST..The Black Swan’for the other side of the story! The Spanish wre invited to join and contribute to the cost of the ‘dig’ but ignored Odyssy Marine.
    It was out of Spanish Territorial waters and in INTERNATIONAL waters!.
    The Guardia Civil boarded Odyssy vessel illegally after barricading it Gib for 6 months expecting to find the silver bullion (but that had gone to Florida already) and arressted the captain and stood the crew on the port in the blazing heat of the sun in Algeciras.
    If it was a man o’ war then they may have soveriegn rights but it was clearly a merchant is man so it fair salavage. The Spanish want it all ways.
    It was bullion robbed from South American Indians in the first place. and mined through slavery in the first place So if anyone has a genuine claim to it then its the Peruvians!
    And what do we hear….Nazi treasure in a Spanish museum…now who would have believed it!
    But its out of order for the USA to do dirty deal over that…bet your bottom dollar that if Spain is involved then a kick back payment and rake off will be on (sorry under) the table!
    now lawyers have their fingers in the pie. I hope iot vanishes from the vault in Tampa!!!
    Odyssy Marine Lawyers….not worth your money after this!

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