Supreme Court denies treasure hunter's final bid to keep haul of Spanish coins

Odyssey has practically exhausted appeals in the US Company has waged five-year battle to keep shipwreck treasure

The US Supreme Court on Thursday denied Odyssey Marine Exploration’s emergency stay motion to halt the handover of 594,000 silver and gold coins to the Spanish government.

In a short entry in the top court’s docket, Justice Clarence Thomas, who was assigned the case, entered “denied” to the Tampa, Florida firm’s request.

In effect, Odyssey has exhausted all its appeals in the United States following its nearly five- year legal battle with Spain to keep coins and treasure that it plucked from the 19th-century shipwreck of Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes. Odyssey has until February 27 to file an appeal.

“Odyssey has said that they will nevertheless ask the Supreme Court later this month to accept the case for review, but to obtain the ‘emergency’ stay that was denied today, they had to show that there is a good reason to believe that the Supreme Court will find there is something of merit in Odyssey’s arguments,” said Spain’s lawyer James Goold.

Last week, the US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta denied the firm’s request to keep the coins in the United States until it could appeal. Odyssey had lost its fight with the Spanish government at three federal court levels — the US Magistrate and US District Courts in Tampa, and the appeals court in Atlanta.

The coins have been in the custody of the US Marshals Service.

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