Men claim to find Nazi train loaded with treasure in Poland

“Men claim to find Nazi train loaded with treasure in Poland”

via “Yahoo News

Men claim to find Nazi train loaded with treasure in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — According to Polish lore, a Nazi train loaded with gold, artworks and weapons vanished into a mountain at the end of World War II, as the Germans fled the Soviet advance. Now two men claim they know the location of the mystery train and are demanding 10 percent of its value in exchange for revealing its location.

Historians say the existence of the train has never been conclusively proven, but authorities are not passing up this chance at possibly recovering treasures that locals and the government have sought for 70 years.

“We believe that a train has been found. We are taking this information seriously,” Marika Tokarska, an official in the southwestern Polish district of Walbrzych, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

She said her office received two letters this month from a law firm representing the men, a Pole and a German who have chosen to remain anonymous, saying they are seeking 10 percent of the value of the train’s contents for revealing its location. The documents from the lawyers say the train is 150-meters (490-feet) long and loaded with guns, valuables and precious metals, but do not specify where it is. Authorities say they are willing to pay the reward if the information pans out.

A lawyer for the men, Jaroslaw Chmielewski, compared the find to the “wreck of the Titanic” in an interview on a local radio station.

Tokarska said that hiring a law firm gives a degree of credibility to the two men’s claims, as do indications that they are familiar with the train’s contents. But there are also reasons for caution: The first letter included some references to the area’s topography that indicated they might not know the area very well.

Joanna Lamparska, an author who has written about the train and the region’s history, says she believes it could be a scam. . . . .


Contract battle brewing over $14M Blackbeard ‘treasure’

“Contract battle brewing over $14M Blackbeard ‘treasure'”\

by Martha Waggoner via “AP

FILE- In this May 27, 2011 file photo, a 3,000 pound anchor from what is believed to be the wreck of the pirate Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen...

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Nearly 300 years after the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship sank off the North Carolina coast, a shipwreck-hunting company and the state are battling over treasure linked to the vessel — but they’re fighting with legal filings, not cutlasses, and the treasure is $14 million in disputed revenue and contract violations.

The Florida-based company, Intersal Inc., found little loot when it discovered the Queen Anne’s Revenge almost 20 years ago, but it eventually gained a contract for rights to photos and videos of the wreck and of the recovery, study and preservation of its historic artifacts.

The state, meanwhile, has created a tourist industry around Blackbeard and his ship since the vessel’s discovery in 1996. That includes exhibits at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, which attracts about 300,000 visitors a year, according to the Queen Anne’s Revenge website. The artifacts, such as a 2,000-pound cannon, also go on tour to other state museums. The state also posts photos and videos on websites and social media sites.

Intersal says the state is violating the contract by displaying media of artifacts from the ship on websites other than its own without a time code stamp or watermark. In its petition in the state Office of Administrative Hearings, the company seeks $7 million for the alleged misuse and $7 million in lost revenue from the state Department of Cultural Resources.

“The actual ship itself, which is the treasure that remains, is now in contention,” said John Masters, chairman of the board of Intersal. “We found a little bit of treasure — gold dust, silver — but the real treasure is the ship itself.”

A spokeswoman for the state agency declined to comment. In its response to the petition, the state denies Intersal’s allegations. A spokeswoman for the state attorney general said Tuesday the state plans to file a motion to dismiss the petition on jurisdictional grounds.

When Blackbeard captured the vessel in the fall of 1717 in the Caribbean, it was French slave ship called La Concorde. Blackbeard renamed it the Queen Anne’s Revenge and made it his flagship.

Blackbeard, an Englishman whose real name may have been Edward Teach or Thatch, held onto the ship for only a few months.

He was sailing north from Charleston when it went aground in May 1718 in what’s now called Beaufort Inlet. The pirates likely had time to haul away most of the valuables, nautical archaeologists have said. Five months later, members of the Royal Navy of Virginia killed Blackbeard at Ocracoke Inlet.

This marks the second time in two years that the state and Intersal have been at loggerheads. They reached a 15-year agreement in 1998 but ended up in mediation in 2013 before signing another deal.

Now Intersal and the state must return to mediation by June 29.

“We believe this is an important case for the people of North Carolina for us to win because otherwise, it’s going to have a chilling effect on business in North Carolina,” Masters said.

Masters said his father searched for Blackbeard’s ship for 20 years before finding it. While the state and a shipwreck company might typically split the proceeds of a shipwreck, a different deal was reach for Blackbeard’s vessel, which had little monetary treasure.

Instead, the 1998 contract gave Intersal multiple media rights.

Intersal accepted that agreement as part of an overall deal involving another shipwreck, the El Salvador, which sank in a 1750 hurricane. Treasure is thought to remain with that wreck, which likely is spread across the ocean floor, Masters said.

The company’s petition includes complaints about the permit for searching for the El Salvador.

Intersal contends its business has been harmed by the violations, “some of which harm may be irreparable,” says the petition, filed in April. . . . .


Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson to forfeit $425,000

“Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson to forfeit $425,000”

by Kathy Lynn Gray via “Columbus Dispatch

Ex-fugitive Tommy Thompson has agreed in a plea deal to turn over $425,380 seized in his case to U.S. District Court.

The agreement, obtained by The Dispatch yesterday, was filed on Thursday as part of a criminal contempt-of-court case against the former treasure hunter. The document says that Thompson will plead guilty to one count of criminal contempt.

It also says that he will help the parties to a 2006 federal lawsuit against his shipwreck-search companies to identify and recover assets and that he will answer questions under oath about those assets, including 500 commemorative gold coins.

The coins were minted from gold bars Thompson brought up from the SS Central America shipwreck and were valued in 2007 at $1 million to $2.5 million.

Thompson also agrees in the document to answer questions and provide information to investigators, including identifying anyone who helped him while he was a fugitive.

If he pleads guilty to the single contempt charge, the document says, the U.S. attorney will not charge him with other offenses arising from the case, “including federal criminal offenses related to fraud and unjust enrichment.”

It also says that Thompson “claims to suffer from a rare medical condition that requires specialized treatment” and that the government agrees that Thompson’s medical condition will be a focus of the presentence investigation.

Thompson and his girlfriend, Alison Antekeier, were ordered in 2012 to appear before Judge Edmund A. Sargus in Columbus as part of the federal lawsuit over the treasure brought up from the shipwreck off the East Coast in the late 1980s.

Instead, the pair fled, and contempt charges were filed against them. They were returned to Columbus after they were arrested by U.S. marshals in southern Florida in January. . . .


Judge Ends Treasure Hunter’s Attempt to Salvage Cape Cod Shipwreck

“Judge Ends Treasure Hunter’s Attempt to Salvage Cape Cod Shipwreck”


A treasure hunter’s effort to salvage what he calls $3 billion in platinum from a World War II shipwreck off Cape Cod has been ended by a federal judge.

Greg Brooks’ company Sea Hunters LP is no longer allowed to salvage additional items from the S.S. Port Nicholson, which was sunk by a Nazi U-boat in 1942, U.S. District Judge George Singal ruled on Wednesday.

Brooks said he believed the Port Nicholson carried platinum bars from the Soviet Union that were payment to the U.S. for war supplies. His treasure hunt had led to a criminal investigation and legal action by investors who paid him millions of dollars.

The judge also denied an attempt by a group of investors to win recovery rights, claims to what’s on the ship if anything is found. The judge wrote that evidence suggests there’s nothing valuable to salvage.

The record, the judge wrote, suggests that all that remains is “70-year-old truck tires, fenders and miscellaneous other parts and military supplies.”

The judge essentially ended Sea Hunters’ rights to any claim to potential treasure. He cited Sea Hunters’ actions “including the filing of falsified documents on this court’s docket and its inability to salvage any items of substantial value.” He issued the ruling with prejudice, meaning it’s permanent.

Brooks, whose company is based in Gorham, said he wishes he could talk in depth about the case to provide “the real story” but his attorneys want him to be silent.

“I will say one thing, I still believe the cargo is aboard the PN,” he wrote in an email. “I just cannot fight countries.”

Brooks said he located the Port Nicholson wreck in 2008. His claim of valuable precious metals aboard led to a splash in the media in 2012, but there were immediate questions about the veracity of it. He eventually put his vessel up for sale and laid off his crew.