‘Treasure-laden’ Russian shipwreck sparks controversy

The stern of the Dmitri Donskoi, and a file photo of the Russian Imperial Navy warship.

(PRNewsfoto/Shinil Group/Getty)

A recently discovered 113-year-old Russian shipwreck that may contain more than $130 billion in gold bars and coins is sparking controversy.

In a statement released Tuesday, the salvage company Shinil Group confirmed that the stern of the ship, the Dmitri Donskoi, once part of the Imperial Russian Navy, was discovered off South Korea’s Ulleungdo Island. The 5,800-ton armored cruiser heavily damaged after an attack by Japanese warships during the russo-Japanese War and was sunk in the Sea of Japan on 29 May 1905.

The company speculated about 200 tonnes of gold bars and coins worth 150 trillion won ($132 billion) would still probably be on board of the ship.


The news sparked an investor frenzy in South Korea, prompting the country’s financial regulator to issue a warning against possible investment losses.

Shinil is not mentioned, but the president recently agreed to acquire shares in a local company, Jeil Steel.

The stern of the Dmitri Donskoi. The ship has seen better days.

(PRNewsfoto/Shinil Group)

After Shinil the announcement on the Russian ship, Jeil the price of the share rose to 30 percent on South Korea’s KOSDAQ market on Tuesday. They continue their sharp rise on Wednesday morning for Jeil in a regulatory filing to clarify that Shinil the president would be the second largest shareholder, not the greatest, if the deal goes through. Jeil also said that it is “no relation to the treasure ship business.” Jeil’s stock prices dropped by more than 20 percent after Thursday’s trade.

South Korea’s Financial supervisory Service said Thursday that it is closely monitoring the trading activity in the framework of the shares of Jeil Steel. An agency official said that the regulator is looking into possible misleading practices with regard to the trade of Jeil shares, including the inducing of investors by means of false information.

“Investors need to be careful, because it is uncertain whether the ship is salvageable, and whether Shinil could get into the ownership of the asset, even if he gets permission to raise it,” said the official, who did not want to be identified, citing office rules. “Dong-Ah Construction, which similar claims on the same ship, but not to deliver on its promises and went bankrupt, causing large losses for investors.”


Shinil Group has also launched a cryptocurrency exchange linked to the ship of the discovery. “Shinil Group is turning the dream of the mountains of the Donskoi ship in reality”, explains on her website, adding that it will “sharing the profit with the public.” People to sign up for the fair will receive the virtual currency called Shinil Gold Coins, with additional ‘Coins’ given to those who attract new members.

File photo of the Dmitri Donskoi. There are riches to be found in the colossal wreck?


Coins can be redeemed for “cultural vouchers that can be exchanged at the will of bookstores and other and other outlets, according to Shinil Group.

Fox News has reached Shinil Group with a request to comment on this story.

The Dmitri Donskoi was in a fleet of 38 Imperial Russian Navy ships deployed from the Baltic sea to the Pacific ocean. Citing historical accounts, The Express reported that the Dmitri Donskoi, with treasures fraught. In addition to the implementation of port cost and salaries for the fleet of sailors and officers, they could have held gold reserves of other Russian ships damaged in the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905.


The rumors about a gold treasure on the ship have swirled for decades, although the possibility of a sunken treasure has also viewed with skepticism. According to The New York Times, a historian, told Bloomberg in 2000 that it would be safer to send the gold to the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok by rail, in contrast to the use of a ship.

Subs were used to explore the wreck in the Sea of Japan

(Shinil Group)

Some experts also said that it is unlikely that the Donskoi, a heavily armored warship with more than 12 artillery pieces, 500 sailors, and probably 1,600 tons of coal, had room for 200 tonnes of gold, which would double the current gold reserves in South Korea the central bank. Similar criticism has been expressed on the social media. And there are questions about the gold worth is estimated at $132 billion — the Bank of Korea ‘ s 104 tonnes of gold reserves are estimated to be approximately $4.8 billion.

It is unclear whether Shinil would receive South Korean government approval of the storage shed plans.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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