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Chilean Pirate Treasure Sparks Controversy
Locals fume over government plans to confiscate loot; company's claims called 'nonsense'
Marcelo Mackinnon (pelarco)     Print Article 
Published 2005-09-29 15:01 (KST)   

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Speculation about the pirate treasure that is supposedly buried on Chile's Juan Fernandez Island is increasing. The Chilean government has angered the islanders after stating that it will confiscate all of it for public use. The 1,500 islanders are now demanding that 25 percent of the approximately US$10 billion should be for them.

In other developments, Maria Beeche, the Chilean partner of American millionaire Bernard Keiser, has declared that they know the real location of the treasure.

"The only treasure here is that buried by Captain [George] Anson, all the other stories told by Wagner [a geological prospecting company] are nonsense, they only want publicity for their robot. The Pope's rings? The key to the Jerusalem's wall? Very funny!"

"Bernard's machine points to another spot, Wagner's robot has only found fool's gold," she added.

Beeche said that according to her information there are 80 kilograms of gold bars, silver bars and barrels full of jewels and gold coins, but nowhere near to 800 tons.

"Who is going to be able to walk around with 800 tons of gold in these hills? And in 1715? They must be joking!" she said.

Beeche's version is as follows: In 1715 a Spanish captain defected to Britain and ran off with a ship full of Aztec gold to Juan Fernandez Island and buried it there. He also gave the British a map with the location of the treasure. However, it was only 40 years later that the British sent an expedition led by Captain Cornelius Webb to recover the treasure.

He found it, but his ship was destroyed by a storm and could not return to Valparaiso. He sent a letter to Lord George Anson specifying where the treasure was. Anson went to the island, but was unable to understand the coded message by Webb.

Two centuries later, the father of Beeche's husband acquired the map and spent all his life looking for it on the island. It has been Beeche who has continued with the search along with Bernard Keiser.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Marcelo Mackinnon

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