The executives attracted $7.6 million from investors after claiming that the ship contained a massive 200 tons of gold, according to Yonhap News Agency. Estimates indicated that the purported gold haul would be worth a staggering $132 billion.
Yonhap reports that the claims of sunken treasure were found to be groundless. On Wednesday, a court in Seoul sentenced a number of people to prison terms over the scam.
The former vice chairman of the business formerly known as Shinil Group, identified only by his surname, Kim, received a 5-year prison sentence, according to Yonhap. The former head of the group, identified by the surname Ryu, received a 2-year sentence, Yonhap reports, adding that another key accomplice was sentenced to 4 years in jail.
The stern of the Dmitry Donskoi.
There was, however, plenty of skepticism about the veracity of the supposedly amazing ‘discovery’ and experts had long questioned the rumors of sunken treasure that swirled around the Dmitry Donskoi. According to The New York Times, one historian told Bloomberg in 2000 that it would have been safer to send the gold to the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok by rail, as opposed to using a ship.