Lawsuit sinks over claims to sunken treasure off Colombia

09 Apr 2013 7:52 AM | Anonymous

Lawsuit sinks over claims to sunken treasure off Colombia
Matthew Huisman

The National Law Journal



More than 300 years ago, British warships clashed with Spanish vessels off the coast of present-day Colombia, sending to the bottom of the sea a galleon that's now believed to hold billions of dollars in treasure.

Sea Search Armada, an ocean salvage company based in Bellevue, Wash., has long been locked in a fight with the Republic of Colombia over claims to the sunken treasure, which remains unrecovered at a depth of about 1,000 feet. The legal effort hit another snag on Monday, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a trial judge's ruling dismissing the company's suit.

Sea Search claimed it owns a stake in gold and silver coins and bullion valued at as much as $17 billion. Lawyers for Colombia, represented by a team from Arnold & Porter, contended that a three-year statute of limitations for breach of contract and conversion claims has long expired. The appeals court agreed.

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