Falmouth diver Peter Devlin and a friend from Truro have been given less than a fortnight to face trial in Spain, accused of plundering treasure from a sunken wreck.
The friend, father-of-four Malcolm Cubin, was suddenly told to prepare a defense to face trial in 10 days after the matter had hung over himself and Mr Devlin for more than six years.
The case was delayed, but the two men now face a nervous wait to find out if they will spend up to six years in a Spanish prison.
Self-employed commercial diver Mr Cubin, 37, of Truro, said: "The first I heard about it was from the TV news so I was stunned and shocked.
"Then the panic set in and I called our investors who confirmed it. I contacted our lawyers in Spain who got a stay of execution.
It's hard to know what to do with it always in the back of your mind. You wonder what's going to happen to your family if you get carted off to jail. We did nothing wrong and no-one has convinced us otherwise."
A team including Mr Cubin was licensed by the Spanish government to recover 220 tonnes of tin from Dutch cargo vessel the Friesland, which sank off the port of Corrubedo, Galicia, in 1877, and hand over 23% of the expected £650,000 value.