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John Edwards Stakes His Claim on Pirate Booty

The question of the day: Just how much of the $500 million sunken treasure found in the Atlantic last weekend belongs to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards?

I put a call in to Edwards' campaign yesterday morning to find out, but I haven't heard back yet.

The reality? The populist one-term senator will get an undisclosed piece of the action from the sunken 17th-century galleon.

The ship, laden with gold and silver, was found at the bottom of the Atlantic by a little-known exploration company, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Research (OMR).

Even less well known is who owns OMR.

Biggest shareholder: New York-based Fortress Investments, a private equity and hedge fund manager. Senior adviser and major investor: John Edwards.

Edwards' personal financial disclosures show he's an investor in the exclusive Drawbridge Global Macro Fund, which owns the 9.9% stake in OMR.

Ten percent of $500 million. After costs, of course.

Fortress investor relations manager Lilly Donohue did not return a call or an email seeking information on the Global Macro fund.

Fortress' stake is even bigger than at first appears. In a complex holding, it owns 3.1 million shares, plus millions more in preferred stock and warrants. Total economic interest is the equivalent of 6.98 million shares.

Profits in the last week already come to $19 million.

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