In reports from both Reuters and The Telegraph on July 19th this week, the Shinil Group announced that their underwater excursions had discovered the long-long Russian battleship called Dmitrii Donskoi. This battleship also unveiled $100 billion in gold, which appears to have been lost with the ship originally over 100 years ago.
Upon the discovery, Shinil Group released the following statement:
“The body of the ship was severely damaged by shelling, with its stern almost broken, and yet the ship’s deck and sides are well preserved.”
The company used submersibles to make the discovery, which also helped to confirm the origins of the ship. Allegedly, the ship went down with 5,500 boxes of gold bars, plus 200 tons of gold coins. Proof of these claims will soon be provided by the Group when they release the footage they acquired on their search.
According to a representative from Shinil Group, Park Sung-jin, they have confidence that there are gold boxes, which he describes as “tightly lashed” and potentially filled with “really precious stuff.” If the claims that the Group makes prove to be factual, then the total worth of the shipwreck is estimated at over $100 billion.
Confusion Over The True Owner
With the support from the Shinil Group, the wreck was actually discovered on July 15th in a joint effort between experts from South Korea, Britain, and Canada. The split group is exactly why the ownership is contested, though multiple contenders are asking for a piece.
Specifically, the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology has said that they actually found the wreck in 2003, challenging Shinil Group’s rights to the wreckage. Another company, Don-Ah Construction, has been bankrupt for quite some time, and they say that they actually found the Dmitrii Donskoi in 2001.
To make the mess even more complicated, maritime law may indicate that the ship belongs to Russia, according to Yevgeny Zhuravlev. Zhuravlev is in charge of the Vladivostok’s military history museum that is located on the Pacific Fleet. The South Korean’s Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries says that there is plenty of discussion to be had about how to assign ownership, especially with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, nothing has even been discussed with the Russian government.
No matter which official entity ends up with the rights to the ship, any treasure inside will ultimately be awarded to the Russian government. However, if the Shinil Group ends up being the first one that had discovered the Dmitrii Donskoi, they have already said that they want to donate 10% of their portion to the job creation initiatives that South Korean President Moon Jae-in has in the works. They would also support other development projects in South Korea to better the economy.
Another Twist In The Plot
Even through this elaborate tale of “who gets what,” there are more twists to consider. Right now, there are two websites that have arisen, which both seem to be tied to the treasure and the discovery itself.
The first of the websites is a new crypto exchange that was only recently launched, and its called the Donskoi International Exchange. This exchange intends to share the wealth of the exchange with their users, providing tokens called Shinil Gold Coins (SGCs).
The other website, which was not found until Bitcoinist uncovered it, seems to be advertising an ICO for the coin. Each of the websites has the same logo, and their designs are almost indiscernible between each other. Furthermore, both of them are saying that they are run by the Shinil Group.
That is not where the coincidences end; both websites have the same webhost, same registrant for the website, and same administrative contact in their data. Though they also have the same physical address registered, it does not match up with the Shinil Group. Instead, it links the ICO to a shopping mall, which is found in Seoul, Korea.
To help establish some clarity and to protect investors, the Financial Supervisory Services of South Korea said,
“Investors need to be cautious as it’s possible they could suffer massive losses if they bank on rumors without concrete facts regarding the recovery of a treasure ship.”
Park Sung-jin has specifically said that the Shinil Group has absolutely no attachment or association with the exchange. While the Bitcoinist has sought a statement for the ICO, they have not gotten one.