Treasure Chasers

May 7, 2011

Ex-President Joseph Estrada involved in attempted murder complaint filed against American treasure hunters in the Philippines!

News Release November 16, 2002 (PRWEB) November 16, 2002

The accused include a Philippine National Police Colonel, Segundo Duran (PNP) and Moro National Liberation Front – Abu Sayyaf Commander, Tony Nasa, and former American partners in the salvage of the Japanese Hospital Ship “Tieyo Maru” that is located in the main harbor of Camiguin Island off the north coast of Luzon, in the Babuyan Islands. The 400 ft. ship, which was sunk during the first week of April, 1945, lies in 100 feet of crystal clear water, near Calupiri Island and only 1,500 meters from the islands’ main dock. A salvage permit had been awarded to Pacific SeaQuest and Dennis Standefer (The complainant) in 1993 by then President, Fidel Ramos, for this ship and 33 others that are in the area, including the USS Charleston.

The accused American treasure divers include Karl Steven Ryll, 42, who masterminded the conspiracy and was its ringleader, and is a El Monte California High school teacher, who is married to a Filipina, and Steven Edward Morgan, 54, who has been living in Manila salvaging shipwrecks and raising investment money since his 1995 takeover of the project. The two treasure hunters were assisted and financed by Harold Karaka, of Laguna Hills, California, and Kiy Dupont, from Louisiana, who are all also Americans.

This group has attempted to murder their former partner, Dennis Standefer, 57, (who started the salvage project in 1993 with a group of Filipino divers and partners) since early 1998 in the Philippines and Malaysia, where Standefer was living at the time. The murder attempts and death threats were first reported to the Philippine government and the American Embassy (Manila) in early 1995 and were extensively covered in the Philippine and United States press at the time. (See attachments of Special series by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Santa Barbara News Press)

When the groups direct attempts to kill Standefer in Zamboanga, Mindanao, and Sabah, Malaysia failed, they filed several phony cases with the PAOCTF and the NBI . When this did not work as there were no witnesses or evidence, they then set-up the fake “rape” charge in Surigao City, Mindanao, in August 1999 (See other pages on this website for details) seeking the extradition to the Philippines and death-penalty for Standefer. Ryll and Morgan were assisted in this by Colonel Segundo Duran and his friends in the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine Interpol, which included the Director Ricardo A. Diaz and others.

Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, (Who was deposed in January 2001 and is now awaiting his own death-penalty case for plunder in a Manila jail), assisted this group with the filing of fake cases (PAOCTF and NBI), obtaining false documents, protection, and finally with a letter giving false assurances that Dennis Standefer would NOT face the death-penalty if returned to the Philippines. Karl Ryll has bragged for several years that Estrada was “their partner” in the $ 350 million dollar treasure salvage project of a Japanese Hospital ship. Recently acquired documents from a Ryll/Morgan defector in the Philippine government have confirmed the relationship! This “relationship” is never mentioned by Ryll or Morgan now that Estrada is out of office and accused of the biggest graft, corruption, and economic plunder case since President Marcos was “removed” from office in 1985! (Photo was taken at his arrest on April 25, 2001) The project came to an abrupt stop when President Arroyo came into office and they lost their “contact”.

Ryll and Morgan also paid officers of a Philippine NGO, ECPAT Philippines, to assist them in filing the fake case, by giving Diaz an “excuse,” along with the documents obtained from the PAOCTF that have nothing to do with this case, to have NBI/Interpol arrest and later extradite Standefer from Indonesia with Estradas’ help. (See “victims statement sworn statement attached)

This group has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses, “legal fees”, bribes, and payments to officials in the Philippines and Indonesia to have Standefer held in detention without trial or bail. He was never given any chance in Indonesia to present evidence or witnesses in his behalf and was then extradited to the Philippines last year. The NBI transported Standefer to Manila on May 11, 2001, at the government’s expense, after having him injected with drugs and literally carried aboard a Philippines airlines flight with two NBI agents.

Standefer was held in the NBI’s detention center in Manila for three weeks, without incident, after the American Embassy Consul Paul Boyd took an “extreme interest” in the case and in Standefers’ safety after hearing of Ryll’s actions in Jakarta from the US Consul there. (See American Embassy letters). Paul Boyd confronted Karl Ryll in the presence of NBI/Interpol Director Diaz and “ordered” Ryll not to be involved in Standefers’ case in any way. At that time Ryll admitted using his NBI identification to attempt to gain access to Standefer detention cell in Indonesia as well as misrepresenting that he was working for the Philippine government on the case.

In early June of 2001, three NBI agents transferred Standefer by airplane and bus to Surigao City, Mindanao, to await his “trial”. Upon Standefers’ arrival there, no one seemed to know what to do, as the case had NEVER been pursed in Surigao City, only by Ryll, Morgan, Duran, and Diaz. Neither the “alleged victim”, the Chief Prosecutor of Surigao Del Norte, the Dapa Regional Trial Court, or the trial judge, had any knowledge of Standefers’ two-year incarceration in Indonesia, his extradition to the Philippines, nor his detention at NBI headquarters, until he arrived in Surigao City (June 2001). The case had been returned to the archives as there was never any preliminary investigation (as is required by Philippine law), the “alleged victim”, refused to meet with the prosecutor in 1999, and the “warrant of arrest” was illegally issued, not to the NBI, but to Karl Ryll!

THIS “FANTASY” RAPE OF KARL RYLLS WAS NEVER REPORTED TO THE LOCAL POLICE (As this was impossible!) and there is no doctors’ report (required in any rape case in the Philippines, or ANY other evidence or witness statements in the case file. Only the one page “complaint” that was written by Karl Steven Ryll.

It was quickly determined after interviews conducted by the Chief Prosecutor of Surigao del Norte, Oscar Pospia, that the rape never happened and that Standefer was not even in the Philippines at the time the “alleged rape” took place (early November 1994). The Chief Prosecutor was easily able to verify this by contacting the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BID) and checking their records. He was also presented a certified copy of Standefers’ passport provided by the American Embassy and another copy from the BID. As Standefers’ original passport had been stolen by corrupt BID officials and “sold” to Steven Morgan back in 1995, it was not possible to obtain the original passport, even after an extensive effort and a number of formal demands made by the American Embassy in Manila over a six year period.

Nine local witnesses presented themselves to the Chief Prosecutor (Including the alleged victim – Niefelyn Sumaylo and her parents – see photo below) and confirmed that there never was a rape, that Dennis Standefer never came to Surigao del Norte in 1994, and that Karl Steven Ryll made up the whole story in August of 1999 and got the case filled August 10, of 1999, along with Segundo Duran (PNP) and Tony Nasa (MNLF). There was testimony that Ryll even wrote the “complaint” himself, when a local attorney refused to get involved after hearing the real story from Niefelyn. (See sworn statement)

After a very brief court hearing in Dapa RTC #31, where the witnesses testified, the case was dismissed (Complete transcript available at “Document Archives”. Standefer did not even bother to hire a lawyer for his “death-penalty trial” as it was so ridiculous. He only paid a local attorney P500 ($ 10 USD) to fill out and file the necessary papers with the court to have him released on July 5, 2001.

The groups’ next move was for Steven Morgan to file a “new” fake case and persuade the Philippine Undersecretary of Justice, Attorney Maria Merceditas Gutierrez, to get a hold departure order on Standefer to give them a chance to have him killed before he could leave the Philippines.

Ryll, Morgan, Karaka, Nasa, and Duran have been hunting for Standefer in the United States, Indonesia, and the Philippines ever since. While Standefer has remained at an undisclosed location for the last year, they have continually sought the location of the witnesses and have continued to threaten to kill them for telling the truth in this case.

(Note: Over 300 pages of documents, photographs, previous news releases, newspaper articles, witness statements, and additional information are available on request, by email or fax and can be down loaded from the website below) Voice recordings of death threats and video tape will be available soon!

For additional information or to conduct an interview, contact:

Fax: 1.425.928.6496 (USA)

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