Company's claim to have found gold-laden warship wreck causes market turbulence

Shinil Group say they found the Dmitrii Donskoi off the coast of Ulleungdo island east of South Korea

The South Korean salvage team believe it to still contain 200 tons of gold bullion and coins worth 150 trillion won ($130 billion).

The Korea Times reports that the South Korean firm, which has been searching for the wreck for years, used two manned submarines to spot the ship on Saturday.

Also, the ship's cannons, machine guns, anchor and steering wheel are still in place.

South Korean news website Chosun Biz reported that Shinil Group was only founded in June, even though it says it is the successor company to Shinil Corporation, formed in 1957. Citing historical accounts, The Express reports that the Dmitry Donskoi may be treasure laden. Unlike most of the Russian fleet, the Donskoi escaped the initial fight without significant harm, but Japanese warships caught up with her the day after and inflicted serious damage.

Unlike previous companies that raised similar speculation over the Russian naval cruiser, however, Shinil appears to be willing to comply with a South Korean demand to pay at least 10 percent of the ship's estimated value as a deposit before recovery operations can start.

The Russians didn't want the cargo to fall into Japanese hands because the ship was reportedly carrying large amounts gold. "And yet the ship's deck and sides are well preserved", the Seoul-based Shinil Group said in a statement obtained by USA Today.

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Another 10 per cent will be gifted to Russian Federation as the owner of the wreck, and would be used on projects such as a railway to connect Russian Federation and South Korea running through North Korea.

'A navy veteran and an expert in raising ships who had been a consultant while we were independently preparing to raise the Donskoi took the actual location data and the geological and marine information we had given him and joined the Shinil Group's ship raising team. Shinil is speculating on what the ship may have carried: 200 tons of gold that supposedly might be worth up to $132 billion. The Donskoi's crew members were subsequently taken prisoner by Japanese landing parties.

"One-third of the stern is bombarded and the hull is severely damaged", Shinil Group explained, in a statement. Jeil also said it has "no relation to the treasure ship business".

But South Korean officials are warning investors (who may be looking to pour money into potential stocks in relation to the company), to be leary, as such claims aren't new.

Alexei Kojevnikov, a history professor at the University of British Columbia, said he is skeptical, as ships going into major battle have no reason to carry any gold.

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