Bid to halt dig in hunt for Crusoe island loot
A reclusive millionaire is facing calls to down tools on his 20-year hunt for billions of pounds worth of buried gold on Robinson Crusoe Island near Chile over fears the search will devastate the Unesco-protected site.
Bernard Keiser, a Dutch American millionaire based in Chicago, has since 1998 been digging on the island for mythical lost treasure, worth an estimated €9bn.
His team has been allowed to use only manual tools such as shovels, brushes and knives. But on September 2, Chilean authorities approved Mr Keiser's request to use diggers.
Now Diego Ibanez, a Chilean politician, has filed an emergency petition to block the dig. "What they are doing is illegal," he said. "It's outrageous that this has been approved without any questions asked."
The island is named after Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish explorer who was marooned there in the 18th century, later inspiring Daniel Defoe's novel, 'Robinson Crusoe'.
Legend has it 800 barrels of gold and jewellery taken from the Incas during the Spanish conquest of Peru were buried on the island around 1715.
Chile's forestry commission said Mr Keiser's request to excavate an area of 65ft by 65ft was in keeping with Chilean environmental law.