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Cablegate: Spanish Demarches On Odyssey Once Again

VZCZCXRO5536
PP RUEHRN
DE RUEHMD #1952/01 2831206
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101206Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3597
INFO RUEHSS/OECD POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1002
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 3118

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 001952

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PBTS PHSA SCUL SP UK
SUBJECT: SPANISH DEMARCHES ON ODYSSEY ONCE AGAIN

REF: STATE 138377 AND PREVIOUS

MADRID 00001952 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) On October 9, Foreign Ministry Deputy Director for
North American Affairs Fernando Prieto presented a nonpaper
to desk officer Elaine Samson and EconOff reinforcing the
GOS' desire to obtain broader access to the Odyssey import
documents into the U.S. and requesting that the U.S. conduct
an investigation of potential violations of U.S. law on the
part of Odyssey Marine Exploration company.

2. (SBU) The text of the message, which was presented in
English, is as follows:

Further to the meetings of 27 September 2007 and 3rd October
2007 with Mr. Bellinger, Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of
State, here is a reply to the points raised by him on the two
Spanish requests included in the Non Paper dated 24th
September 2007.

Request A: That the documents presented by Odyssey Marine
Exploration (OME) for entry into the U.S. of certain
archaeological goods be released for confidential use.

1. Release of the documents is requested for
confidential use in investigation of potential violations of

SIPDIS
application U.S. Customs and Spanish laws concerning the
extraction and shipment of these goods, and in judicial
proceedings that may arise from enforcement of the relevant
United States and Spanish Laws.

2. Additionally, there is reason to believe that the
materials imported by OME are property of the Kingdom of
Spain taken from the sea and imported to the U.S. in
violation of Spanish law. The importation of these materials
may accordingly be subject to U.S. Customs laws as materials
imported contrary to relevant U.S. and Spanish law concerning
the protection of national property, military property and
historical/cultural heritage. In particular, available
information indicates that the documents contain specific
information with respect to the location from which the
materials were taken and identification of the nationality
and the dates of coins and other artifacts. This information
is believed to provide confirmation that the materials in
question were taken from a warship of the Royal Navy of Spain
that sank in battle during the early 19th Century and are
property of the Royal Treasury of the Kingdom of Spain that
was being transported by this vessel in service of the
Kingdom Spain. Release of the requested documents is
necessary to investigate the application of such laws and to
assist U.S. Customs and such other competent U.S. agencies as
may be authorized to have access to the documents for
purposes of potential enforcement proceedings.

3. The agencies of the Government of Spain that have
competence in the investigation of this matter and/or in
judicial enforcement proceedings, and to which the documents
would therefore be made available: Spanish Customs, Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ministry of Culture,
Ministry of Justice, Spanish Navy. It is understood that the
documents shall be held in confidence by authorized
representatives of the competent Spanish agencies and used
only for investigation and/or enforcement proceedings in
Spain and/or the U.S.

Request B: That the possible violation by OME of U.S.
customs or other rules be fully investigated and prosecuted
by U.S. authorities.

1. U.S. Customs laws OME might have violated: 18 U.S.C.
Section 542 which prohibits the importation of materials by
means of false statements; 18 U.S.C Section 545, which
prohibits the importation of goods to the U.S. in violation
of any law (which may include Spanish law); and 19 U.S.C.
Section 1595a, which provides for seizure and forfeiture of
goods imported in violation of relevant laws.

2. The available information indicates that the
importation of these materials may have occurred by means of
false and/or misleading statements concerning the country of
origin, ownership, value, legal status, and/or other
characteristics of the imported materials. Additionally, as
noted above, to the extent that specific information as to
the location and identifying characteristics of the materials
was provided in the documents, it is believed to constitute
evidence of the taking and shipment to the U.S. of national
property of Spain in violation of Spanish law concerning such
property and corresponding U.S. laws concerning the
importation of such property.

3. Should additional information concerning this matter
be needed at this stage, it would be provided on request on a

MADRID 00001952 002.2 OF 002


confidential basis. An investigative dossier is currently

SIPDIS
being assembled concerning the available evidence, for which
the requested documents are needed, and will be made
available to the U.S. Customs, the Department of State and
such other U.S. agencies as may be deemed appropriate by the
U.S.


LLORENS

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