Peru Says Spain Stole their Gold

There is yet another twist in the international battle over a treasure trove of gold coins and other artifacts found by a Tampa company.

The country of Peru is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the imminent transfer of the half-billion dollar treasure from the U.S. to Spain.

The gold and silver coins were discovered by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Explorations in 2007. At the time, the find was estimated to be worth around $500 million to collectors, which would have made it the richest shipwreck in history.

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Since then, Odyssey has been in a legal battle with Spain over who gets to keep the coins.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion by Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration to stop the transfer, so Odyssey officials agreed to give the Spanish government access, and said the company would not oppose the efforts.

Now, Peru is saying that silver and gold was essentially stolen by the Spanish from the people of Peru centuries ago.

Peru is asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to allow Spain to take possession of the treasure.

The exact storage location of the treasure hasn't been disclosed, but handling and conservation of the coins was performed by a Sarasota-based company.

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Plans for transferring it are shrouded in secrecy, but it is believed to be headed to MacDill Air Force Base, where Spanish military planes will pick it up.

The plan was to hand over the coins this week. Spain is trying to work fast to get the treasure out of town.

It remains to be seen what the Supreme Court will do with the motion.

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