The Association of Peruvian Consumers and Users (ASPEC) requested the Peru government to join the legal battle between Odyssey Marine Exploration and Spain over the sunken treasure trove of silver and gold coins discovered last year.
Ownership of the 17-ton treasure found by Odyssey in May of 2007 is worth several hundred million, and has been hotly contested.
With the possibility the treasure came from the Mercedes, a Spanish 34-gun frigate that left Peru and was close to home before it was sunk by the British fleet in 1804, ASPEC believes the coins were made with Peruvian metals and minted in Lima.
Jaime Delgado, owner of ASPEC — the Peru consumer advocates group — commented in a statement,
"…if it is found that these coins were minted in Peru, with gold stolen from Peru, then beyond international agreements, there is an ethical and moral issue."
In an International Herald Tribune article today, Delgado was also quoted as saying,
"This gold was stolen from the Incas."
Odyssey and Spain were in U.S. Federal court just yesterday discussing the case before Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo. No written rulings or discussions from that appearance have yet to be published by the court.
It looks like the legal battle may go on for a very long time.