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SEOUL, South Korea – A South Korean company's claim to find a submerged Russian warship has triggered the investor's frenzy among speculation that the ship carries a huge amount of gold when it fell 1
The Seoul-based Shinil group said Tuesday that its divers discovered what a wreck it identified as 6 200 tons of Dmitrii Donskoi descending during 1904-1905 Russia's Japanese War from an Eastern Korean island. The company speculated about 200 tons of gold bars and Coins worth $ 132 billion would probably be on board the ship.
Shinil released images and videos taken by submarines that showed markings on the bill that the company said was the name of the ship in Russian. It said it hoped to accommodate the ship from its depth of more than 0.25 miles within a few months.
Other companies have made similar claims, but no one has taken concrete measures against wrecking. One of them, Dong-Ah Construction, was accused of spreading false rumors to support his stock prices and later went bankrupt.
Shinil was founded on June 1 with about $ 87,800. The company is unlisted, but its president has recently agreed to acquire shares in a local company, Jeil Steel.
Following Shinil's announcement of the Russian ship, Jeil's share price rose by 30 percent in South Korea's KOSDAQ market on Tuesday. They continued their steep rise on Wednesday morning before Jeil in a ruling submitted clarifying that Shinil's president would be his second-largest shareholder, not the biggest if the agreement goes through. Jeil also said that it did not "have any relation to the taxpayer's business."
Jeil's stock prices dropped more than 20 percent after Thursday's trading.
South Korea's Financial Inspection Service said Thursday that it carefully monitors trade involving the shares in Jeil Steel. An agency official said the governor was looking for any fraudulent methods involving trading of Jeil shares, including inducing investors through false information.
"Investors should be careful because it is uncertain if the ship is afraid and if Shinil could get ownership of the assets even if it is allowed to raise it," said the official, who would not be identified by reference to office rules. "Dong-Ah Construction made similar demands on the same vessel but failed to deliver its promises and went bankrupt, causing major losses to investors."
Russian scientists have said that Russia would probably not put as much gold on a single ship and that it must have been much safer to move by train. They also said that some gold coins could have been on board the ship to pay salaries to the Russian navy officers.
It is unclear whether Shinil would get the South Korean government's approval of its salvage plans.
Local laws aimed at preserving the national territory and property require that the company deposit 10 percent of the estimated value of the shipwreck before commencing its mining operation.
An official of the Pohang Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, which has jurisdiction over Shinil's case, said that it has not formally discussed the company's claim because Shinil has not yet submitted an application for a rescue right. Official, who spoke anonymously because he was not competent to talk media on the issue, said Shinil had to deposit 13.2 billion dollars, based on company officials speculation how much gold is likely to happen on board.
Shinil did not agree on how much its possible deposit, say what officially was the shipwreck, did not tax on it. The estimated shipwreck worth $ 1 million and planned to put down $ 105,540 as a deposit. The company's spokesman, Park Seong-jin, said his company will file a request for ship rescue later this week.