The Donskoi was badly damaged during the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905 and reportedly scuttled by its captain shortly before his capture so that the Japanese couldn't seize the gold. They also report that a South Korean construction company has come forward to claim the discovery too. Shinil is speculating on what the ship may have carried: 200 tons of gold that supposedly might be worth up to $132 billion.
"We believe there are gold boxes, and it's historically proven", company spokesman Park Sung-jin told Reuters.
The company claiming to have found the buried treasure is reported to have been established about 50 days ago. South Korea's financial regulator subsequently issued a warning against possible investment losses. Shinil has said that it hopes to raise the Donskoi, and any treasure within it, from the bottom of the sea within a few months.
A Canadian historian who specialises in Russian history said he's never heard about the gold aboard the ship, but also doubts the idea of carrying so much gold on the ship.
According to a statement on its website, Shinil Group intends to share its profits from the salvage of the ship "as well as ancillary businesses such as documentary and film production" through its cryptocurrency, called Shinil Gold Coins. Shinil Group said that 10 percent of the treasure would be vested in developing tourism projects on Ulleungdo Island, South Korea where the Russian battleship was discovered. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said that the company has not yet requested permission, the Korea JoongAng Daily confirmed, but the company said it will request permission on Monday.
The company said it will release more details if any treasure is found inside the ship on either July 24 or 25.
Yevgeny Zhuravlev, head of Vladivostok's military history museum on the Pacific Fleet, said under worldwide maritime law the cruiser belongs to Russian Federation. Even stranger still, it appears that there is more than one Shinil Group, with the second linking the find to a cryptocurrency exchange. "Any works on board the newly discovered Dmitry Donskoy should be agreed with the Russian side", he said.
For example, the S.S. Minden, a German cargo ship that sank near Iceland during World War II, is believed to hold Nazi gold worth $130 million. Much of the Imperial Russian fleet was defeated by the Japanese.