Ruling fails to definitively divide spoils of Spanish galleon’s £1bn bounty. A lengthy legal battle over the rights to treasure believed to be worth £1bn, which went down with a Spanish galleon 300 years ago off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, was thrown into further confusion yesterday despite a ruling by Colombia’s highest court to finally decide ownership.
The gold, silver and jewels on board the San José, which sank on June 8 1708 while trying to outrun British warships near the port of Cartagena, make it one of the world’s most valuable shipwrecks. The treasure has been the focus of a legal battle between the Colombian government and American salvagers.
The supreme court ruled yesterday that Colombia holds the rights to items deemed to be "national cultural patrimony". Anything else will be halved between the US salvage company Sea Search Armada and Colombia.