Tampa deep-sea treasure hunter Odyssey Marine Exploration asked a federal court Wednesday to strike a U.S. filing in the "Black Swan" case that supports Spain's claim to $500 million in silver, gold and other artifacts. The motion filed in the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals also asks the court to require the U.S. government to note its interests in the case.
"The U.S. government's interest appears to have been related to a promise of support for Spain in exchange for assistance in obtaining this painting for a U.S. citizen," said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey vice president and general counsel. "This calls into question whether there may have been any other offers of support in exchange for favors completely unrelated to this case."
The State Department's proposal to Spain was discovered among the 250,000 classified cables recently published by WikiLeaks against the will of the U.S. government.
Greg Stemm, Odyssey chief executive officer, sent a letter on behalf of the company and its shareholders to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton requesting additional information and a review of the position taken by the United States in the "Black Swan" case but has not received a response.