A Washington court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit from a U.S. company seeking multibillion-dollar compensation from Colombia over rights to the Spanish gold ship “San Jose,” which sank off the coast of Colombia in 1708.
The Colombian State recognized the American company Sea Search Armada (SSA) as the discoverer of the wreck, however, the U.S. court ruled against the SSA claiming “the prescription of the case and the inadmissibility of the prosecution,” newspaper El Espectador reports.
SSA claimed that Colombia had violated a contract signed 30 years ago that allowed them to recover the treasure, and they are demanding a compensation of up to $17 billion.
According to a statement from the Colombian embassy in Washington, the contract signed by SSA and Bogota “never existed.”
In an interview with W Radio, Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. Gabriel Silva said he was very happy with the court’s decision.
“We have almost two decades behind this problem. When I was ambassador 20 years ago, we had the same issue… but for now the Sea Search Armada has no merit whatsoever…” he added.
The San Jose was a Spanish galleon carrying gold and silver that attempted to flee a fleet of British ships off Colombia’s northern coast of Cartagena. It was sunk along with its cargo on June 8, 1708.