By Ivan Penn - Tampa Bay
Members of Florida's congressional delegation this week called on the U.S. Department of State to withdraw the nation's support of Spain's claim to the $500 million Black Swan treasure.
In a two-page letter dated Jan. 20, six Republican lawmakers said ownership of the sunken treasure found by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. should be determined by the courts without the U.S. government's intrusion.
Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor sent a letter the same day, voicing her concern to the State Department about the U.S. government's backing of Spain.
Odyssey and Spain are battling in U.S. courts over claim to the sunken treasure found in 2007.
The U.S. government filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case in support of Spain.
Documents posted by WikiLeaks showed that the U.S. government's involvement in the case appeared to be related to other discussions with Spain.
In exchange for helping with the Black Swan case, the U.S. government wanted assistance from Spain in retrieving a French painting owned by a U.S. citizen that is currently in a Madrid museum.
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