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National Briefing / FLORIDA

Peru seeks shipwrecked loot

August 21, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Peru's government wants to know if 17 tons of silver coins recovered from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean last year were made there, complicating the legal quest to determine who rightfully owns the multimillion-dollar treasure.

Peru filed a claim in U.S. District Court in Tampa to determine where the coins originated, entering the fray over the $500-million loot found on a sunken ship by Odyssey Marine Exploration. Odyssey, of Tampa, has been fighting Spain for ownership of the ship and its contents.

Peruvian consumer rights advocates contend the coins were made with Peruvian metals and minted in Lima. When Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes y las Animas sank west of Portugal with more than 200 people aboard in 1804, Peru was still a Spanish colony.

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